This afternoon I was transfixed with local Portland television coverage of Greenpeace protesters' efforts to slow down disastrous oil drilling by Shell in Arctic waters.
Disastrous, because global warming is the greatest threat to civilization as we know it, along with the United States' national security.
Watching the incredible bravery and determination of thirteen protesters who hung from ropes on the St. Johns Bridge to try to prevent a vessel loaded with equipment needed for Shell's drilling to move from a Portland drydock, and the courage of "Kayaktivists" who did their best to block the progress of the ship, I felt like I was watching a re-run of desegregation efforts in the South back in the 1960's.
Meaning, it's pretty damn clear that history is looking to look favorably upon those who stood up for saving the Earth's environment, just as history does to those who fought the evils of segregation.
In each case, the Power Structure -- police, government -- started out on the wrong side, favoring special interests rather than the broad public interest.
It was frustrating to watch the Portland Fire and Police Departments, Coast Guard, and other agencies band together today to stop a protest that was morally virtuous, while clearing the way for a ship that will help destroy our planet's livability.
To all of the protesters, I say Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.
You inspired me. You motivated me. You gave me hope for the future -- seeing how many people were willing to risk arrest and injury in order to make a righteous stand against Shell's corporate greed and government's lack of concern for future generations.
I just gave $50 to Greenpeace. Not much, but I wanted to do something to express my support for an organization that fights so hard for our one and only Planet Earth.
Global warming is here. This summer's record-breaking heat in Oregon testifies to that, not that any more evidence is needed beyond what the world's climate scientists have already provided. Humanity ignores that evidence at its peril.
I'm disappointed that President Obama gave permission for Shell's Arctic oil drilling. Hopefully the Portland protests will help to change his mind. Or at least to stand firm when the next misguided effort to add to our planet's greenhouse gas pollution requests government approval.
If nothing else, those protests helped change my mind.
It isn't enough for me, or anybody, to recycle, drive an electric car, turn down the thermostat, and do all the other Green things that we're told will help the environment. It also is necessary to, in the words of today's protesters, say "Shell No!" to the rich and powerful who care about short-term profits rather than the long-term future of humanity.
If governments and corporations won't listen to scientists' warnings about the clear and present danger of global warming, then stronger steps have to be taken. Civil disobedience, for example.
Again, thanks to today's protesters for making this clear to Oregon, the country, and the world.