Environmental Change: Unless the Corporatocracy Does It, It Don’t Mean Much

From Mark Morford:

 Just look around. It feels as though your heart is being eaten by angry capitalist cockroaches. Like your id is being munched by deranged zombie architects. And your eyes, oh God your eyes, they can’t help but be burned like charcoal as they take in mile after mile, town after town, dreary suburban dystopia after dreary suburban dystopia of massive gluttonous eco-mauling overdevelopment, more Wal-Marts and SUV dealers and scabby strip malls and so many generic prison compounds that are apparently actually tract-home complexes it makes you want to rip out your soul with a pickax and feed it to the few remaining wild coyotes in Joshua Tree before someone shoots them all to make way for a new Home Depot.

This, then, is the conundrum: On the one hand, we are ever trying to convince ourselves that we can make a difference on a humble individual basis, in our daily lives, little by little and one recycled Evian bottle at a time, and yet the destructive proof to the contrary is so vast and omnivorous it seems like a nice rerun of “Bambi Meets Godzilla.” It can feel as though your little eco-home, your little ethically raised wool rug mean about as much in the overall scheme of earthly health as a speck of organic lint in a nuclear waste dump.

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McDonald’s eventually dumped the Styrofoam. But here’s the story’s big kicker: Just that one simple shift, that one tiny change in corporate behavior affected an enormous industry all the way down the line, so much so that they figured it was the environmental equivalent of something like 50 million people deciding to recycle plastic bottles. It was at once staggering and humbling.

In other words, sure you can do your part at home, sure your drop in the environmental bucket helps get the plastic wet, but real, serious change can’t even begin until the corporate and political leviathans decide it’s good business to pretend they have a soul.

FEMA Replaces the Red Cross: Is Martial Law Back in Play?

After FEMA’s shameful performance in the wake of Katrina, one would have thought that nobody in their right mind would assign them the key disaster-relief role, but that’s exactly what just happened.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will replace the American Red Cross as the agency in charge of coordinating the provision of shelter, food and first aid to victims in disasters under an agreement disclosed by a Senate panel yesterday.

The change in the government’s emergency plans, formalized in letters between FEMA and Red Cross leaders Feb. 21, follows criticism of the way they cooperated after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and a new law that bolsters FEMA’s role in providing emergency housing, human services, case management and financial help.

That graf is a doozy. FEMA and the Red Cross were both criticized for not co-operating? Maybe my memory is deficient, but I don’t remember the Red Cross being criticized at all while FEMA screwed up everything it touched. And it continues to. So, what? Now they’re being rewarded for being prime fuckups?

The FEMA takeover will be administrative and will not affect the Red Cross’s traditional direct relief operations, which include opening shelters, providing food and raising money, which totaled more than $2 billion after Katrina, spokeswoman Laura Howe said.

Oh, great. The authors of the biggest administrative clusterfuck since Elphinstone got thrown out of Kabul has just been given the responsibility for administering disaster relief.

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