In life, no matter how long one lives, we discover new, mostly wonderful things…art, writing, books, great natural landscapes, and insightful knowledge. Sometimes we come across something horrible to see, though. While reading I stumbled upon something relatively new from the world of climate change that I thought I would never see and is giving me nightmares… what is called a “coal roller”. The 2014 article where I got the picture of this monstrosity is here:
Image Credit: Business Insider
Personally, I have never seen one in Atlanta, and I never want to. They were being built beginning around 2014 in response to President Obama’s environmental initiatives. Fortunately, many states are outlawing these beasts. What could be the psychological mindsets of people building coal-rollers? Why would someone deliberately pollute the air to make a political point? I have known that most conservatives since Dr. James Hansen gave his testimony before Congress in 1988 deny and even obfuscate the fact that man is responsible for most of the recent warming of the planet. I never thought that even a tiny percentage would add to pollution on purpose.
As an inside joke, which back in 2014 I penned for one of my potential books….From Kyoto to Katrina to Keystone (How Right Wing Politics Hijacked the Climate Issue)….., I realized that linking some conservatives with the racist past (KKK) would fly like a lead balloon, even among my friends. With each passing year and month, though, the KKK title began to fit the political situation. Here is another rhetorical question. Why do a small percentage of conservatives display the obviously racist Confederate flag on trucks? This would be some of the same people driving coal-rollers. Yes, the same people with residual racist tendencies also adamantly do not believe in big government environmental regulation and will fight it tooth and nail politically. Thus, there is a direct link between racism, anti-intellectualism, and even anti-environmentalism. All are part of the southern United States imbedded political DNA mindset. I have had about 40 adult years living in the Deep South experiencing these attitudes.
Teddy Roosevelt was very conservative, but as a stalwart environmentalist establishing vast parks in the West, he would be sickened at the sight of coal-rollers. So too are many of my conservative friends when they saw the image I put on Facebook. “Conserve” and conservatism should go hand in hand.
Simply put, a certain percentage of mostly ignorant folk vehemently do not like to be told what to do, how to change or progress, or how to think by authority… even to their own detriment. They rebel (in the South hence the label “rebels”). I’ve known people to vote against their own best interest out of principle… that in the name of states rights when it comes to medical, work place, or tax issues. In the United States rebels, when it comes to the climate issue, will always be with us no matter how much science is presented… perhaps even later this century no matter how toasty it gets during the summer. “Stubbornness” is a horrible human trait to change or fight. It will take a while to politically dislodge some stubborn rebels in high political office currently in the U.S.
It now is becoming obvious to many of the associates that I communicate with that China is taking the world lead on converting to green energy. The dictatorial Communist government there realizes that to survive and remain in power, the quality of life in cities such as Beijing must improve. That starts with air and water. Here is a recent piece confirming that China is winning the “green race” much like the Soviets were winning the “space race” against us around 1962. Only this time for us in 2017 there is no Jack Kennedy to right the ship:
Sadly, since China is egregious on human rights issues, I have trouble coming to terms with their system, but any positive environmental changes and policies there can be implemented more quickly than in the U.S. Here significant changes must go through both houses of Congress, the President, and even the Supreme Court. Executive orders can be changed from administration to administration. I have concluded that it will take tough, top-down, heavy handed, draconian measures to make sure, worldwide, that there is a quick change to wind and solar, while highly punitive laws keep carbon in the ground. These actions should not be up to a vote. They should be done period unless it is deemed that the world can adapt to harsh heat and significant sea level rise. Yes, market forces are already pricing out coal, but not quickly enough per most scientists and experts.
The Climate Guy