Clothesline in Winter

Clothesline in Winter

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quick! What’s the Difference Between a Chicken and an Oil Lobbyist?

Farm animals do the darnedest things.  And all too often, those darned things involve the end product of their digestive systems.

Here at Good Hand Farm, our chickens and horses definitely lack politesse when it comes to their excretory habits.  We always find chicken manure in the hen house drinking water. And why can’t the horses steer their hindquarters clear of the feed bowls? We tell ourselves: Thank God people are smarter than farm animals!

Our barnyard brain trust
But recent news from Kids v. Global Warming (“KvGW”) now has us wondering.  You see, the kids at KvGW recently got fed up with government inaction on climate change, and decided to sue to protect their future.  Their leader, 17-year-old Alec Loorz summed up the case like this:

“Today, I and other fellow young people are suing the government, for handing over our future to unjust fossil fuel industries, and ignoring the right of our children to inherit the planet that has sustained all of civilization. I will join with youth and attorneys in every state to demand that our leaders live and govern as if our future matters.

“The government has a legal responsibility to protect the future for our children. So we are demanding that they recognize the atmosphere as a commons that needs to be preserved, and commit to a plan to reduce emissions to a safe level.”

Sounds reasonable, right?  You have the right to poop, Ms. Chicken, but not in the water the rest of need for drinking.  And like drinking water, the atmosphere that sustains the earth’s climate systems is the common heritage of all young people.  You’ll be long gone, Mr. Oil Executive, when we inherit the climate mess you’ve left us with atmospheric CO2 levels not seen in millions of years. That's unjust.

Chickens don’t get this, but humans do, right?

Well, not all humans.  We’ve learned that the nation’s most powerful business lobbying group – the National Association of Manufacturers (“NAM”) – has successfully argued for the right to intervene against the kids.  It’s now the richest oil companies in the world against a handful of teenagers demanding inter-generational justice.

And what is NAM’s argument? Their lawyer said that they have a “legally protected cognizable interest to freely emit CO2.” There are no specific prohibitions on emitting carbon dioxide, so it is permitted, he argued. He said that NAM and its allies may freely emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere without any reference to the public trust.

In other words, because the oil, gas and coal industries have been allowed to use the atmosphere as a pollution dump for free historically, they deserve to keep doing so.
The animals of Good Hand Farm have a farmer who’s in charge of keeping the water and the feed bowls clean, even if they don’t have the sense to do so themselves.   Our kids don’t have a farmer.  They’ve got a government, and a court system.  But now, the most powerful and richest adults in the world are training all their legal and lobbying firepower on them, to preserve the source of their toxic riches.

Maybe it’s time for some other adults to come over to the side of the kids.  You and I can do so, by visiting the KvGW and Our Children’s Trust websites.  Get your credit card out, and join me in supporting their efforts to save the climate systems they’ll inherit after the oil execs make their last few billions.

Farm animals – and, apparently, oil lobbyists – don’t know any better.  But you do. Let’s stand up for the kids!

Thanks for reading, and may God bless you.

J. Elwood

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, but the sinner's wealth is laid up for the righteous.” Proverbs 13:22

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