Thursday, October 28, 2010

Of hubris, betrayal, a crucifixion and blowback to come of biblical proportions.

The sun is about to rise on another day at Ivanpah, a sunrise unlike any other in its’ history.
For in the past, it may have have shined down on a valley that hosted man and his works,
such as a mining effort on a hill, or cattle ranging far and wide with the holding pens, etc-
today begins the new era in Ivanpah where an arrogant hominid species is determined to
remake the valley to suit his need for, make that his lust for never ending power to fuel his
never ending avarice. Being unable to control his impulses, and unwilling to change his behavior,
too lazy to turn off a light switch, or to shut off the big screen, his response to his perceived need
is to industrialize more wilderness. They used to call this as it applied to this country, “manifest
Technically not the correct dictionary definition, but appropriate for this post I believe.

The first advance scout units of the mechanized armored division employed by Bechtel BrightSource et al
arrived yesterday to be met by a small, intrepid partisan band of desert activists, but of course they were
brushed aside by the monstrous mechanical behemoths, as to be expected. I honor their courage, if I
had been aware such an event was going to happen, I would have driven up on the morongomobile
and participated, but, alas, no notice was given. The assorted “dignitaries” present for the celebration
were probably not even aware of the heroic bands presence at the scene of the soon to be unfolding
ecosystem catastrophe.

No, they were there to celebrate their impending wealth and good fortune, not to mourn the supine, defenseless, and guiltless Ivanpah valley, about to be ravaged shamelessly for profit and fun, by the
rabble about to be brought in for that purpose. Shouts of joy and cheers for their entitled good fortune
were heard over the roar of the bulldozers, as the assembled “dignitaries” took shovels in hand to turn
over a small spadeful of the precious Ivanpah soil, which had hosted life of all kinds for millions of years.
Some may have noted in the crowd that perhaps this was the first “real” work that these “dignitaries” had
done in their whole lives, an opinion which might or might not be shared by this blogger.

Once the ceremony was over, and after all the disgraceful self promotion and self congratulations were
completed, the crowd began dispersing and reality and the dust began to settle in. The raping of the Mojave
Desert, as reported here yesterday, has begun in earnest.

It’s not too early, and contrary to some opinions I have seen expressed in some quarters, it is totally
necessary to affix the blame and responsibility for this environmental disaster and debacle, square upon
the shoulders of the ones whose arrogance and hubris knowing no bounds, took it upon themselves to
try to stop this climate change phenomenon by making the Mojave and other deserts the first sacrificial
lambs. This they did by advocating for this destruction while holding positions of high responsibility in
the so-called environmental movement, a movement deprived of its’ very soul by its’ shameless
and headlong acceptance of corporate cash and perks, and by virtue of their positions of power in the
renewable energy siting and planning process, i.e. being on the RETI Steering Committee, among others,
in positions of real power and influence over the process, where unbeknownst to the grassroots
activists, the heart and soul of the movement, they sold the desert down the river, I am sure,
for the biblical thirty pieces of silver. Maybe they didn’t get paper sacks full of money, nobody
is saying that, but what the hell do you call it, when you leave one carbonmentalist group one
step ahead of the mob, and end up at another carbonmentalist group with what I am sure is
generous compensation, and working side by side with your fellow traveller who was with
you on the steering committee? It reeks of dishonesty, arrogance, hubris and is enough in
this blogger’s opinion to damn the names of those involved forever, which roughly equates
to the damage the Mojave and other wild places are about to endure. Yes, from a human lifetime
perspective, the damage will last forever.

The Mojave and we regular people didn’t deserve this betrayal and neither did the rank and file members
of the groups these quislings belonged to. These actions by these “well meaning” individuals, in my opinion,
have demoralized their base and completely emboldened the ranks of the industrialists, politicians,
and others of their type. Already they are crowing in the newspapers about how many jobs these
projects slated for the desert will bring. And this is just the first day of news coverage! Just wait until
the spin experts at Goldman Sachs, etc get on the bandwagon.

Yes, we are all witnesses to this modern day crucifixion of an intact ecosystem which has survived
millions of years, and now must be sacrificed at the altar of mammon. We have seen the modern day
Judas Iscariot’s, now we have to witness the agony. Unfortunately, we will not be around long enough to one day perhaps observe the resurrection, in this case, an event that probably will never occur.

As Chalmers Johnson observed in a famous book he wrote, there is always blowback, unintended
consequences sometimes occur after events are set in motion. I am convinced, and I believe others
are as well, that this Ivanpah valley, followed by the Blythe and Barstow projects, then the many
others planned, mark the beginning of the end for the deserts as we know them to be. Perhaps we
will have to learn a new definition of what a desert will be like in the future. As many observers, way
more knowledgeable than myself, have pointed out over and over, this inevitable industrialization will
inexorably lead to habitat fragmentation for both plant and animal species, and no amount of so-called
mitigation is going to bring it back. The desert as we know it, a wild and forbidding place, but
with such beauty and majesty at times to be heartbreaking, is over. We just don’t know it yet.
It’ll sink in, given time and as more and more heliostats go up, even the most diehard skeptics
will be able to see the obvious.

The effect on the human spirit while not as obvious, nonetheless will be felt by many as these tragic
events will play out over time. Wilderness, while not for everyone, is a requirement for everyone. You
unbelievers will know that one day, when your spirits are down and there is no place to go to get
away and just ponder life and your situation. I know this is hard to understand, but your problems at home
don’t seem quite as bad, when you are hiking out in the wilderness.

I don’t know just how bad the blowback will be, but I stand by my title of this post. I don’t believe that
you can wipe a whole functioning ecosystem off the globe and not have dire consequences. Studies
have been done already which point out how the desert soil helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere,
perhaps as much as a rain forest. But as we know, that was all swept under the rug, pushed aside
so that we can help stop the carbon buildup in the atmosphere.

Now I am starting to get it when I hear some talking of wacko’s. Destroying carbon sequestering soil
banks so that we can stop carbon buildup in the atmosphere- yep, sounds pretty wacky to me.

Events have been set in motion, people and organizations have been exposed for the frauds and
charlatans that they really are, and Wall Street and others are about to make a killing off this raping
of the defenseless Mojave. I hope, like Midas, they choke on it.

And that’s the way I see it out on the backporch.



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