The House is on Fire. Fossil Oligarchs Complain about Smoke  

The House is on Fire. Fossil Oligarchs Complain about Smoke.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

The House is on Fire. Fossil Oligarchs Complain about Smoke. Image Unsplash.

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The House is on Fire. Fossil Oligarchs Complain of Smoke  

Fossil Oligarchs like to complain. They complain about the smoke, the heat or any one of a thousand discomforts. Of course, all their complaints come from a place of privilege that so many in the world will never have. They complain of discomforts that are a product not of hardship but of unchecked privilege and greed. 

I am halfway around the world from home and watch with disbelief as the forest rages with fire. For me, it feels personal. It is happening in my home country of Canada and my home province of British Columbia. The only place I know I can always find refuge and sanctuary is being consumed by fire.

2023 is the worst wildfire season in Canadian history; eleven provinces and territories have been affected, with large fires in Alberta, BC, Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Thousands of people are displaced, thousands of hectares of forest lost, millions of tonnes of carbon released, and countless wildlife killed.

But it’s not just a Canadian problem, the smoke now covers most of the North American continent—even the Fossil Oligarchs.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government is building a $15 billion dollar pipeline to bring tar sands oil to market. This is the same government that currently allows oil company representatives and lobbyists to direct climate policy. The same government that lets them also provide input on publicly funded carbon sequestration plans. These are representatives of the Fossil Oligarchs that got us into this situation. The Fossil Oligarchs happily take billions of dollars in government subsidies while reaping record profits; all during a climate emergency they helped create. 

It is a bitter irony, but the story is not about them, and it’s not about me as an individual either.

It’s about the people. It’s about the citizens. It’s about the taxpayers whose money is being used to fund these abuses and the abuse of taxpayer dollars that further line the pockets of fossil oligarchs. 

Why do we allow it? 

Because we have been divided, gaslit, and made to feel like we are on the fringe. Big Fossil oligarchs have used all the means available to maintain the money pipeline. They use marketing experts to develop branding strategies, industry liaisons to develop co-branding strategies with other industries, researchers to develop other markets, minor investments in clean technology to greenwash their operations, PR agencies spinning the news stories, corporate scientists to cast doubt on climate science, lobbyists to spend cash and influence legislation, populist politicians feeding our base fears and social media magnifying the message. 

It is a massive social and political manipulation on a scale almost unimaginable to regular working people. It is all with the sole purpose of lining the pockets of the ultra-rich; the fossil oligarchs that caused the problems and who will buy their way to safety from the crisis that is now upon us. 

We are manipulated, divided and made to feel alone, but we are not. We are made to feel hopeless, so we feel there is no reason to fight. But there is reason for hope. There are millions who want change. It is not just a guess; according to Pew Research Center, 72% of the world’s population is worried about climate change, and 80% are willing to make the changes personally to fix it! Also according to the same report, the same people polled don’t trust that it’s being adressed well enough.

People must have a reason for hope in order to take action. It applies to almost everything in life, but with climate, it is an existential threat and overwhelming to most, so they give up. Without hope, why even try to make a change? 

The fossil oligarchs have known this for a long time, and have successfully exploited it in their efforts to wring the last few drops of petroleum from the earth and further line their pockets. Another house, another car, another luxury vacation, another lush green golf course in the middle of a desert.

Of course, this is why Happy Eco News exists. On the surface, it is light, positive and hopefully entertaining. But there is a bigger purpose: we want people to know hope and to know action.

A friend recently told me that she feels the tide is turning. I hope she is right and the awakening has begun. All I know is I have found a small way to help, and it feels good. 

So why aren’t we going after the fossil oligarchs with pitchforks? Why do we keep voting against our own self-interests? Why support crooked politicians who continue the subsidies and pro-fossil laws? Why do so many of us feel hopeless? We just need more hope.

Know hope and know action.

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