MINOT, N.D. — Veganism is kind of stupid, but at least its practitioners have the intellectual integrity and moral consistency to refrain from eating cheeseburgers after they tell us "meat is murder."
Monday, March 15, actress and activist Jane Fonda paid a visit to the Minnesota protests against the Line 3 pipeline replacement project where she ranted about the evils of oil and foreigners and foreign oil.
“We’re allowing a foreign oil company to bring the most poisonous oil across this sacred land and across our country to be exported at a time when science says we are confronting an existential climate crisis,” Fonda said during her visit. “We have very little time. We have 10 years, science says, to cut our fossil fuel emissions in half.”
Let us dwell, for a moment, on the hyperbolic prognostications of political activists citing "science."
Here's The New York Times reporting on the demise of the beaches of the east boast within a couple of decades: "A continuing rise in average global sea level, which is likely to amount to more than a foot and a half by the year 2100. This, say the scientists, would inundate parts of many heavily populated river deltas and the cities on them, making them uninhabitable, and would destroy many beaches around the world. At the most likely rate of rise, some experts say, most of the beaches on the East Coast of the United States would be gone in 25 years. They are already disappearing at an average of 2 to 3 feet a year."
Follow the link to the original article, and you'll find that this report was published in 1995, nearly 26 years ago. Given the stories we've been reading about spring breakers in Florida, I'm pretty sure we still have beaches on the east coast.
We still have polar ice caps, too, despite what Al Gore was saying more than a decade ago.
Yet we're supposed to treat these predictions as received wisdom? I say no, given the track record.
Back to Fonda and Line 3.
I wish some plucky reporter had asked Hanoi Jane if she used some "poisonous oil" to get to Minnesota.
She sure didn't walk, or ride a bicycle, or even take a Greyhound.
She probably flew, and given that she is a talented actress (my significant other and I love "Grace & Frankie"), born into a family of successful entertainers, she probably flew privately.
And, hey, good for her.
I'd do it if I could afford it.
It just takes a lot of chutzpah to burn a bunch of oil on the way to rural Minnesota so that you can deliver a lecture on the evils of oil.
Which is the absurdity at the heart of these (often viciously violent) protests against pipelines. Underneath the ceaseless litigation over routes, behind the smokescreen of Native American-themed mysticism, is the fact that the protests are organized by people who want us to stop using oil even as they use plenty of oil themselves.
It would be a more understandable position if those who want us to stop using oil could offer something more than dire, though typically inaccurate, predictions about climate change.
How do we transport ourselves, not to mention our goods and services, without oil?
Electric cars? I think Teslas are cool, but given their range limitations, they're not exactly practical for many Americans even under optimal conditions. Besides, as we saw this winter, thanks to the push toward intermittent energy sources like wind, our power grid is already fragile at current electricity demand levels.
How could it possibly handle a switch in American transportation from gas and diesel to electricity?
Jane Fonda and her activist pals don't want us to use oil, and they especially don't want us to build oil pipelines, but what are they offering as an alternative for the families that need to get to work and school? Or the delivery drivers? Or the businessman flying commercial to some meeting?
We need oil, and as long as that's true, we need pipelines.
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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.