I read depressing environmental news constantly—the apocalyptic Australian bushfires and the Morrison government’s continued inaction on climate, the Trump administration’s insatiable desire to ravage all environmental policies in its path, including plans to roll back the landmark Clean Water Act of 1972, Canada’s plans to massively expand Alberta’s earth-scarring tar sands and the RCMP’s raids of the camps of the Wet’suwet’en who had been defending their sacred land against the pipelines.
Am I ready to curl up into a ball and wait for the end-times? Absolutely not. While the bad news has been very bad, the good news has been very good.
BlackRock, the world’s largest money manager, will divest from some fossil fuels
BlackRock owns more shares of fossil fuels than any institution in the world. In his annual letter to clients, BlackRock CEO Larry Fink cited the climate crisis as the reason for the company’s policy changes. The big guys have begun to acknowledge reality. This development was unimaginable just a few years ago.
Climate change has become a defining factor in companies’ long-term prospects. Last September, when millions of people took to the streets to demand action on climate change, many of them emphasized the significant and lasting impact that it will have on economic growth and prosperity—a risk that markets to date have been slower to reflect. But awareness is rapidly changing, and I believe we are on the edge of a fundamental reshaping of finance.”Letter to BlackRock clients
Where BlackRock goes, other money managers will follow. Without investments and loans, fossil fuel companies can’t search for yet more oil and gas to dig up and burn. Divestment also delegitimizes fossil fuel companies. They become socially unacceptable.
TV personality, Thestreet.com founder and former hedge fund manager Jim Cramer says “fossil fuels are done”
The video below made me giddy when I first watched it.
Jim Cramer is neither some doomsday prepper nor far left hippie, producing an obscure podcast from his attic. He hosts Mad Money, the mainstream, popular morning TV show that airs on CNBC and reaches hundreds of thousands of people every day.
Nearly two weeks ago, when Exxon and Chevron stocks fell after both companies reported good, solid earnings, Jim Cramer said he’s done with fossil fuels. And he explained why—pension fund managers don’t want to own these stocks, fossil fuels are in the “death knell phase,” people have begun to divest all over the world, fossil fuels are tobacco, young people want nothing to do with fossil fuels and on and on.
The beginning of the end of industrial farming?
Industrial agriculture is the worse thing we’ve done to this planet. Heavy chemical inputs, monocultures year after year, plowing, clear cutting and moving animals grazing on grasses into cruel confinement have depleted the topsoil to such an extent that, following our current trajectory, we have about 55 years of harvests remaining (60 as of 2014, according the the UN’s FAO). Degraded land not only yields smaller, less nutritious crops, it also exacerbates climate change because degraded soil can no longer absorb carbon.
So why am I hopeful? Iowa. When campaigning in Iowa last week, each leading Democratic candidate wooed farmers with their plans for the only way forward—green agriculture and the jobs it creates. The story may have received little coverage, but it represents a monumental shift.
Sitting on the front lines of climate change, farmers have begun to return to soil-enhancing and carbon-sequestering methods: soil-enriching cover crops, no-till methods, fewer chemicals and rotational grazing of animals on grasses.
Iowa State University tests of the [corn] kernel tell us that soil degradation is eroding protein content. Wheat production in China is falling because of it. General Mills is up on the news, and is urging growers in the Dakotas to go organic because consumers demand it. Kellogg is phasing out glyphosate from its acres. The latest poison from Bayer, dicamba, faces a new wave of class-action lawsuits from angry farmers.
In other words, the gig is up on the last 50 years of chemical- and export-driven food production. It hasn’t worked for farmers or rural communities, and they know it.”Art Cullen, The Guardian
No matter who ultimately leads the Democratic Party or who wins the White House in November, farmers will continue to move away from industrial agriculture. And that gives me immense hope. Change comes from the bottom up. And in the case of agriculture—the biggest contributor to global heating—change literally comes from carbon-sequestering grassroots.
Hubris and the suicidal delusion that humans can control nature have brought us to the brink of climate catastrophe. Reverence to nature, humility and compassion can bring us back.