Crazy Town

Orangutans, Santa Suits, and Airplanes on Fire

March 13, 2019 Post Carbon Institute Season 1 Episode 1
Crazy Town
Orangutans, Santa Suits, and Airplanes on Fire
Chapters
Crazy Town
Orangutans, Santa Suits, and Airplanes on Fire
Mar 13, 2019 Season 1 Episode 1
Post Carbon Institute

Can you imagine putting on a Santa Claus suit, not to pull a fast one on the kids and deliver Christmas presents, but to protest Big Oil and climate change in front of your local gas station? That may sound insane, but given what's at stake, it might be the sanest thing you could do on Christmas Eve (plus it's kinda funny). In this first episode, Asher, Rob, and Jason explore how tough it can be to keep from going crazy as our society rushes headlong toward the cliff edge of environmental and social meltdown. Welcome to Crazy Town, where most of the inhabitants just want you to keep contributing to an economy already in overshoot, keep distracting yourself from the most important stories, and (most of all) keep your mouth shut. For episode notes and more information, please visit our website.

Show Notes Transcript

Can you imagine putting on a Santa Claus suit, not to pull a fast one on the kids and deliver Christmas presents, but to protest Big Oil and climate change in front of your local gas station? That may sound insane, but given what's at stake, it might be the sanest thing you could do on Christmas Eve (plus it's kinda funny). In this first episode, Asher, Rob, and Jason explore how tough it can be to keep from going crazy as our society rushes headlong toward the cliff edge of environmental and social meltdown. Welcome to Crazy Town, where most of the inhabitants just want you to keep contributing to an economy already in overshoot, keep distracting yourself from the most important stories, and (most of all) keep your mouth shut. For episode notes and more information, please visit our website.

Support the show (https://www.postcarbon.org/supportcrazytown/)

Asher:

This is Asher. I'm here with Jason and rob. Guys, if you had to describe this podcast in five words or less, what would you say?

Jason:

I'm going to go with Wile E. Coyote guzzling gasoline.

Rob:

I'm thinking climate change, diarrhea, hurricane.

Asher:

Are you serious? Maybe I should do this thing on my own.

Rob:

Fine. It's a show about how to stay sane in a world where there's too many people consuming too much stuff and the planet can't take it anymore.

Asher:

You had me at diarrhea.

Rob:

Caution. If you're allergic to four letter words, you might want to try a different podcast.

Rob:

Hey Jason, Asher. Can you guys imagine putting on a Santa Claus suit and going out to a gas station to do a protest on Christmas eve?

Asher:

Uh, no and no. And what would I be protesting, other than Christmas? That's cool. Well, yeah, exactly. You probably should, but of course you're protesting climate change. All right. Okay. In the Santa suit, well, it's Christmas, so you're like being half festive and half like shut this thing down. And the whole idea is, you know, as somebody drives up to fill their tank on there, it's either family that lives 500 miles away. Yeah. But, but you're giving them a pamphlet in your talking to them saying, you know how evil this Exxon station is. Right? Oh, that's a canon. No, I can't really imagine doing that to be honest. Yeah. Well the, this, uh, this actually happened in the protest or he was just so upset by climate change that, you know, this, he's kind of grasping at straws.

Speaker 2:

This is, this is what it's come down to. I'm going to spend my Christmas Eve this way. And, you know, climate change is obviously there's some reasons to protest, but there's all these other things that he could be doing that's just a lead into maybe, I don't know, 20 other things are all related things like, like what? Oh, population biodiversity laws. Ocean, ocean acidification. Um, persistent organic pollutants. Uh, did I say popular overpopulation? You know, you, uh, you're like a veritable Lyft guy here. You can just keep rolling these things off. I don't want to bore people though, because they don't want to talk about this. I mean, people protest economic stuff all the time. That's probably the thing you see more economic injustice. Yeah, sure. Protests, protests of Bank of America, protests of, you know, remember occupy Wall Street. I mean there's, there's all that stuff too, which actually it hasn't gotten any better. Well in the door. Don't even get started on politics these days. Right? I mean, how many marches, you know, I feel like we're, we're heading back toward the sixties or something. Well, here have her pamphlet tiering in a Santa suit on Christmas Eve. Obviously you've probably reached some bottom, right. You've tried other things, I imagine. And, and it's, it doesn't seem to be working. Right. So you're, you know, you're your, your, your hail marrying here. Tried other things like, like what?

Speaker 3:

Like mushrooms or something. Yeah. I come up with some new ideas. Maybe write your congressperson. Right? Right. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Lobby or where do the dumbest thing of all worked for a nonprofit that's trying to combat these problems? Whoever does that. Idiots. Idiots. Yeah. Sorry. That's us. You should know that Asher runs a nonprofit where I work and Jason's on the board of it. So it's a, that's a post carbon institute. So we're, we're all about these issues with energy and environment and biodiversity and politics and economics. I mean, this guy, this guy obviously is committed, he's caring and, and something set him over the, over the edge may be a little bit, but, but what do you do in this? See, I mean I, we thought probably all had moments in our lives where we're just like, oh my God. Yeah. I feel like, uh, you can look back on your life and find those moments where you're just, what the hell happened?

Speaker 3:

Why are, why are these people acting this way and a water thing so wrong. I got an example. Okay. Um, 1996, I, I'm in, I'm in Borneo, a big island in the Indonesian archipelago in Southeast Asia. Um, I mean, just, just one of the most amazing places on the planet. What the hell are you doing? The, uh, I used to be a biologist that would go around the world collecting plants and studying biodiversity. And, um, let me, let me just interrupt you and let our listeners know that Jason is a, he's a brilliant dude. He's a, he's a PhD conservation biologist, but uh, but I don't, I don't want to pump you up too much. I'll let you finish your story. You could pump them up and I'll, I'll look, you know, come back and all, even out in the end. Yeah. Uh, what I should, I didn't say that he's also an idiot.

Speaker 3:

So, so yeah, I mean, well I kind of felt like, am I doing any good, right? I'm, I'm a conservation biologist. So you're saying I'm studying biodiversity and at some point you go like, can I make any difference? Right. This is probably what this guy is doing it in front of the Exxon station. And so, you know, there are moments where it hits you. And so I was on Borneo in Borneo, has this big mountain called Mount Kinabalu and it stands out relative to all the other, you know, part of the landscape is isolated. Massif of granite and along it slopes, um, cause it goes to the high elevation. There's all these endemic plants. So they are another and animals, things that live nowhere else in the world. And so, um, I was hiking up that mountain and staying there for like a week and a half and collecting plants and, um, and, and the forest, they're just gorgeous and it's full of like rhododendron.

Speaker 3:

Diversity's huge. And these pitcher plants and the lowlands have these Dipterocarp trees, which are the tallest trees in the tropics. So would you say that name again? Dipterocarp. Oh, I think that's a fish dude. Oh God. Probably. But, uh, but then, you know, I had to go, I actually, I got kind of got a sinus infection up there and it was all humid and cold and I had to get out and recover and I decided to, but we, uh, I was with another biologist at the time and we decided we would get out. We both had this infection in our head and couldn't breathe and it will never left. You still have an infected head. So he went to Vegas, we got a bus, we said, let's go to the warm coast, Sandy Con, which is sort of like north, north, east on the coast.

Speaker 3:

And let's just, let's just like rest and figure out how to clear out here. But we get on this bus at the kind of, on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu, um, which is a park and you know, tourists there and we get the buses sound at Sandy Con. And as we drive off the slopes where I'm in, it's been with national park. You realize that everywhere else, you know where we are on this, on this highway, at least as far as I can see, is just devastated. Right. I mean, I've been walking through some of the most rich, beautiful, oh forest landscapes of tree above tree line in getting these vistas in the world and, and then it's just a, you know, deforestation and palm plantations, you mean for like making palm oil, palm oil, right. Which is, you know, going into cookies and crackers and shit and pretty much everything that a, an American diet consists of.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. And then the, or they blow it up for like biodiesel and, and so it's just taking over and it's just as monocrop where I was in this paradise and then we get the Sandy Con and, and, and there's a, there's an Orangutan reserve. Okay. So I recover a little bit and I can walk and breathe and we go to the, no, you infected at least half a dozen Orangutans. You probably responsible for wiping them out. Not only because he was kissing him. Well, like, you know, I was so close, I probably could have, so you're walking through this little Orangutan reserve and you realize that these orangutans had had been sort of rescued because their forest is being destroyed in the end up like on the edge of villages and then they, you know, they get caught up in some Orangutan reserve. People show up and they capture him, they bring him to this reserve. Then they've got to feed them like they're in a zoo, but they're in a forest. It's freaking bizarre and there's like a little Orangutan babies all playing and stuff and I'm going, how were they wearing those cute diapers that you see? Oh, they, they could poop in nature at least was Clint Eastwood there. Remember those Clint Eastwood Orangutan Movies from way back? Right turn. Clyde.

Speaker 3:

Rob Likes to go back to movie references and Chance, I'm sorry it's a disease. Any which way but loose. It was any which way you can was the sequel every which way, but the original. All right, this we're going to have to deal with you, deal with a culture that just like has got this all your junk in the head and the important things. What it was, it was great. He was wearing a diaper and a wrist watch, like all like all Orangutan should. Is that what you saw when you were there? They were cute, but I felt bad because obviously, you know, I'm, you know, there's this weird thing that you're fascinated. Like there's this amazing creature, this is a brilliant there really smart and they have this amazing lifestyle now living in the trees and these dipterocarp forest and say that again, dipterocarp and they build these nests in the trees, like these nest dwelling giant apes and um, the eat, they, they move around, they eat leaves and they have these adorable babies that can like swing from tree to tree.

Speaker 3:

But, um, but you realize what it was that we were, we were the other great ape, you know, that was, that was just destroying their, they're lively there. Their homes and for our, our stupid palm oil and, and um, and right now like as of 2018, there are about 500,000 great apes left in the world. Now it's not just a Orangutans that's orangutans and, and chimpanzees and gorillas combined. There's only like half a million. And so you, the world humans like the, the other great apes, um, can, can we be nest dwelling, tree bound, great apes. That would be a lot of fun. We, we might get there. We lost our, yeah, we lost, five hundred thousand. That's less than the city of San Francisco. Exactly. And so, but human population grows by about that much every two days. Like we're adding to the planet every two days, every year about 500,000, new Monkeys, new apes, new whatever, just to buy people.

Speaker 3:

So let's say it's Friday cause that's a, that's a great day. And you're saying by Sunday, yeah, there was another half a million of us, which was miserable. Palm oil. Swilling uh, none of this stuff. None of that nature stuff has a chance. It doesn't matter how much I study it or you know, if you see the connections, like how am I going to fight the, the economy and consumer demand and, and all that stuff. Can you write a scientific paper about it? When not do it. That's the kind of stuff out there. You might have sweated a lot. Well, I almost feel like the Santa suit, this is the thing, it's just like insane at all is the Santa suit maybe just as useful as riding a fricking scientific paper that I spent six months doing and get peer reviewed and published and have like eight people read it. Right. Well you talk about, uh, that population addition. Yeah. And to me that brings up an experience that I had when I was a kid. I had this,

Speaker 2:

uh, this best friend, you know, you never have a best friend. Like you had in second grade. I mean, you do the best stuff like we used to hang out in is we know we hung out in his, in his doghouse, like he had this dog named Viking. We would get in. They all got, we would get in there and read books and stuff. We would read books about climate change. Sure. No, of course. Yeah. Yeah. That's the new ways of thinking. And I still read it. They were waiting for the film. All right. Um, yeah, if the lorax had been an eighties movie, I would have been all over it. Um, but anyway, uh, this friend of mine, he was a Chinese American. His mom had immigrated from China. And when you went over to his house, it was cool. They had like these vases and scrolls and sculptures and stuff, or I'm from a suburb of Atlanta.

Speaker 2:

It's kind of a hillbilly zone. And you know, like to see these things, I was like, oh, that's odd. But the weirdest decoration in their house was in the study. They had this room. It was, it was awesome. Room, like a cow hide and a TV. And we've used to hang out in there a lot, but they had this up on the wall were photos of presidents. Okay. From, it was Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon and a Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter. Oh yeah, that's, that's kind of weird because you'd think you'd see that in your elementary school or something, but yeah. At the post office, right? Yeah, exactly. They come in. Uh, I digress. But when I worked for the federal government, uh, George Bush and Dick Cheney greeted me every day on the way. Then you had the Dick Cheney smile, like, Hey, welcome to work ya jack ass talking about driving you crazy.

Speaker 2:

But so, so anyway, in the weird thing about these photos is they're all signed to with, with a little message. Wow. Big donors to both parties what's going on? They actually got it. Got Signatures from these presidents. Yeah. Yeah. It was like, it was like happy get a signature from Richard Nixon. Happy Birthday. Richard Nixon. I'm not a crook by the way. Uh, so I, you know, you gotta like, what the Hell is that? Yeah. Well, it turns out my friend's older brother, this guy named Bobby Woo Hoo. Bobby. Woo. Okay. Nice. Nice poetic ride. The, uh, he was the 200 millionth American, so yeah. So there was apparently this little, uh, fuhrer, or how do you say that word?

Speaker 2:

Okay. So there was, there was a lot of energy around the idea of who's the 200 millionth baby going to be. So life magazine was, was watching this, yeah. There they had a count going. So a baby's born to like, well that's 199 million to do this with 300. Right. A little bit, a little bit. But so the 200 millionth was Bobby and so life came and snapped his photo and there was this, you know, full page spread on him and the cute with the adorable, oh, of course. You know, it's baby not as good as the orangutans, but uh, you know, okay, so 200 million, that's a big number, right? It's, it's kind of hard to conceptualize. But uh, you know, you just mentioned Asher of the 300 million. Well, uh, so Bobby was born in 1967. The 300 millionth American came along on October 17th, 2006. So it took less than 40 years to add 100 million people to the, to the good old US of A, so that's like adding 10 more states.

Speaker 2:

The the size of Georgia where we were, or like adding about 180 cities the size of Atlanta, GA under 40 years. 180 Atlanta cities. Atlanta is not a little plate now. No, Atlanta is not entity. All get really lousy baseball teams don't even, don't start talking about the brains. Sorry. Brains back then. Dale Murphy, right. That's true. The eighties they were America's Phil Nicro is incredible. As old guy, that knuckle baller, man, you can probably still throw that. So worldwide it's even nuttier. Yeah. So at the time that Bobby was born, we had three and a half billion, which that's an unconceivable inconceivably large number. But now we've got seven and a half billion. We more than doubled that by by comparison US is doing great. Yeah. Yeah. One of course. Here's the weird thing is we're all about economic growth, growing the economy. Yeah. And half of that equation means growing population.

Speaker 2:

So if we have a goal of continuously growing the economy, then we've got to keep adding people. And everyone should know that rob literally wrote a book about this called enough is enough, uh, available. Uh, you know, fine bookstores. Uh, yeah, you can find it anywhere but a or an a trash heap somewhere in a burn pile. Right? Yeah. It makes great kindling. I mean, you know, you want to wait for the apocalypse, you can have plenty of these books to just on a page a day. I said, yeah, well that's, that's an kind of a light fire. Well that's the get it started. It's this, well, there's not going to be any trees. Maybe, maybe, maybe can set on some Orangutan. We can set some orangutans on fire. This is the first burnable. There won't be orangutans left by the only diapers. We can set the diapers by plenty of diaper.

Speaker 2:

Well, we can send the palm oil plantations. That's right. That's right. Um, so yeah, it just, it blows me away the exponential growth that, that we're seeing in the economy, uh, both in, in the numbers of people and in the consumption. That's probably the part, the, you know, it's Kinda hard to blame people for having sex and having babies, but Geez, the amount of crap that we consume, the amount of palm oil that goes down our or into our guts. Yeah. And you know, all of this comes back to energy. I mean, you're, you're talking about the, the growth in human population. Well, energy per capita energy consumption since 1850 has 814%.

Speaker 4:

That's per capita, right? So eight fold increase in how much energy we consume in that time per capita, then multiply by the cap.

Speaker 2:

So great, great grand pappy, he like lit a match a day and now you're like running a nuclear fusion

Speaker 4:

power plants. There's nothing quite that extreme, but I mean, and that's just the per capita. So you, you, you, you, you totally it together and you realize like we're consuming way more energy, you know. And um, you know, for me like that is actually something that drives me crazy all the time. It actually has, you know, sort of woken me up even in the course of this work. I, I started doing climate change work after doing other kinds of, uh, you know, social cause nonprofit work. And because I was really, really worried about climate change and it took me really understanding energy, I think to really get the crux of the problem that we're dealing with. Like climate change is a symptom of kind of the energy paradigm that we're in. So seeing a population that's a symptom, the fact that these orangutans or are losing the fact that we can grow these palm oil plantations, the, you know, the people in Borneo are not growing these Paul Palm oil, you know, planting these plantations just for their own consumption. Yeah. Doing it for a world market export. Yeah. Yeah. And that, that markets made possible by the fact that we've got all this relatively abundant, cheap energy, you know, I mean, they're running chain saws. The run and bulldozers there is, they're putting in roads. I mean, they're not doing this with pick axes. Right.

Speaker 2:

They are doing it with teams of, of forced labor. Of of Orangutans, right? They got like Orangutan chain gangs, right?

Speaker 4:

Well there's definitely, you got to put in a lot of exploitation that's happening of people right up. But it's all made possible by the fact that we've, we've found these abundant sources of magical energy. And, and I'll tell you like even doing this work here, post carbon institute, being exposed to these issues and trying to probe them and think more deeply about these things. It was, I don't even remember how many years ago, but uh, I was trying to run the numbers a little bit on, on thinking about the value of the energy that, that, that we have. And, and part of the problem is that we throw out these numbers, people talking about Btus, they talk about, you know, kilowatts and kilowatt hours. Well, let's, let's see.

Speaker 2:

Clear physicists and engineers talk that way. Most of us don't know what the hell any of that is.

Speaker 4:

It doesn't mean anything to most people at all. Right? But when you actually start thinking about how much value there is, a really is magical. You gotta put it in dollar value because that's all a people, put it in dollar value or put it in human labor value. So it was trying to crunch, crunch these numbers in and I had to talk to like people that were smarter than me and were real experts, you know, uh, just to confirm these, right? That's not you guys. Well not us,

Speaker 2:

but you know, you can, again, you can go back to that trash heap and find plenty of people smarter. You well, that's

Speaker 4:

true. That is true. I'm sorry, Asher is actually my boss. So any chance I can take to, uh, throw a dig in, I got to do that. And the fact that we're recording this does, it allows me to punch you in the face. Um, no. So like take a barrel of oil, right? A barrel of oil. Right now I think it's selling for, you know, some like 80 bucks a barrel of oil. Well, so what, what does that barrel of oil represent? How much energy is in that thing? It's, well, it's, it's 40, 42 gallons of crude oil in a barrel. Right? I'm going to go with 12. That's my answer. 12 what? 12 okay. I will, I will say 42, 42 for Douglas Adams fans out there. That's a very important number. 42, I won't digress into it, but so 42 gallons of crude oil that, that, you know, when they go and refine the stuff, you know, they're able to to produce about 20 gallons of gasoline about 11 gallons of diesel out of that.

Speaker 4:

Um, which is great, right? So you put 20 gallons of gas in your car and you can drive down the road for, you know, whatever it is, uh, 400 miles maybe if you're lucky. Um, and, but if you think about it that that 80 bucks a week you spent to get those 42 gallons of crude oil, that when you do the conversion, you look at what they actual energy, uh, value of that. That's 5.7 million BTUs. Okay. Btu is, like we said, it doesn't mean anything to anybody. Right? But that's sort of the standard number that's used. That's all that's left of th British empire. British thermal units. Exactly. That's right. And there's 5.7 million of them. And um, so 5.7 million BTUs. Uh, if you convert that to thinking about like electricity, running, running lights and stuff in your house, it's 1700 kilowatt hours.

Speaker 4:

Well, think about that. I know that number doesn't mean anything. I'll, I'll put it in the context of human labor. Okay. So Jason, you got a garden here right in your backyard. Were at your house right now actually, you've got a garden out there. You're, you're trying to rip out and you know, weeds, plant stuff, harvest, whatever. If you're working hard, uh, you might be producing about 70 watts of energy, right? Jason's case, I'm thinking 51 no, no, 70. I've done the math for you. It's like 20 cause he's around, right? Um, I can point at stuff. Hey, can you harvest that please?

Speaker 4:

I'm so over, you know, over the course of a day, let's like, let's say you're working for eight hours, you know, of course of the day. I never do that, but that's fine. Well, let's pretend you're like a real productive part of humanity. Okay, pretend, go with me here. So that that's you're going to basically be producing six tenths of one kilowatt hour. Remember I said there was 1700 kilowatt hours in a, in a barrel of crude oil, right? So you're producing a one day, six tenths of one kilowatt hour, right? Working hard for eight hours. Okay? So if you actually try to take that, what you're, what you're producing in the course of a day through your human labors, sweating your butt off and you, and you divide that into a barrel of oil, well that's 2,800 over 2800 days of your time. Working eight hours.

Speaker 4:

Eight hours a day. Yeah, that's, it would take you 2,800 days how many years. You know, that's 11 years. That's 11 years. A long prison sentence. And if you, if you think about it, will you take the average salary? I, let's take a salary of $45,000 a year. Okay? Yeah. So $45,000 a year and you're working about 250 days over the course of a year. You've got some vacation breaks on Christmas, you dress up in a Santa suit, go and you protest at the gas station. What are you doing on projects? Right? I got lifestyle. So 40 you know, $45,000 you take that amount of days, you know that you're working on, that's 11 years of labor over that time. Okay? That's $500,000 of a salary if you're paying somebody $45,000 a year, right? That is the energetic value of that barrel of oil. And we just, we just pay 80 bucks for her.

Speaker 4:

Okay. Like do you think about that? And first of all, like that's why I had to double check my math. This gotta be wrong. It doesn't make any sense. People talking about how rational the market is, rational price so much. But it's a supply and demand in marginal, marginal demand, marginal supply. So well, and of course you left out the problems of actually burning the stuff and what, what happens? Like that's not included in the price. So yes, let's say you take, you know, people talking about externalities, right? So you say, well, what about all the costs associated with, with consuming that resource and you internalize those costs, right? So you're going to increase that. And people, can people talk about different numbers for what you'd have to, to include, but even those numbers don't even come close to the energetic value of a barrel of Crude oil. And what do we do with this stuff? We F we fart around with it. We get on airplanes to go to Vegas, you know, the lake roll the dice or whatever. It's pretty fun. Yeah, exactly. I like to just leave a leaf blower on nonstop, like 24 hours around the clock. Yeah. Might as well, because it's so cheap to do. Right.

Speaker 3:

Right. Now I know okay and that's exactly right. He's just, it's complete madness and, and um, you know, what burns a lot of fuel. Uh, airplanes. We'll, sure. Yeah. I, I had a pretty, a pretty scary but illuminating, um, journey on an airplane. Right. You know, I like, I used to fly around quite a bit to go to places like Borneo and, uh, Vegas. I, I, there's not huge the canticle collections be had to Vegas unless you're in front of like the big hotels or are in their court calm. If it isn't their poems hotel isn't that, doesn't that Venetian play? Like do they get canals inside there must be like a for like a gallery for assigning it. You, I'm sure the Battersea Vegas has been enhanced by all the pumping of water and all the landscape plastic diversity in Vegas is incredible. But I'm on loan the human beings and in in their products.

Speaker 3:

But it, but you know, this is kind of, I'm on this plane right? And we're, we're, we're reaching cruising altitude right? And I'm, I got a window seat kind of over the wing. I love, I love window seats and don for the damn wings. Well that's not the best. Okay. I agree. But that's what the best I could, I do like smelling the fuel cause it reminds me of all that stuff that you are talking about it Asher. So I'm looking out and you know, it's a, it's nice view. I love looking at the earth from high up and seeing the patterns on the landscape and kind of nerd out. And I can stare at that all day and you could tell that there was this flat rate. I mean, that's exactly, you know, to prove there isn't too, why is there a debate?

Speaker 3:

Um, well there's a, like a little like, like engine explosion and there's this massive, like the whole wing flew off, but they're, you know, it's like something happened when you're on a plane or you see flames coming out of the engine and coming out the back of the shit. So, so I, I, uh, I do that thing where, um, you know, you reach up and you, you turn on the light bulb. I know I hit the little stewardess thing. I thought maybe you were going to turn the little air. They scream, you're calm. Cool. Collected. Was there like a gargoyle type of monster thing that's out on the twilight zone? The movie. Exactly. Yeah, it was, it wasn't a gargoyle it was a Gremlin. Excuse me. You know, it's gargoyle, it's just sitting there frozen on the wings. right but that was in a storm at night. This was a nice calm, you know, evening with good light and everything. Um, so the stewardess comes over and I'm like, um, uh, look, look out the, the, the wings, the wings on fire. And she goes, oh, um, yeah. Okay, well I'll let the pilot know. Can you please lower your shades, sir? We're about to start the inflight movies.

Speaker 3:

Is that where they showing twilight zone the movie? Exactly. Snakes on a plane. I agree. Exactly. The inflight entertainment is going to be wing on fire tonight. Yeah. What do you mean? Right as she, she's like, just calm down, sir. You know, I'll go, I'll go let, I'm sure they're aware of this, but I'll, I'll, I'll go, I'll go, let them know. Well, I'm a little amped up, but uh, you know, I have no control of that situation and everyone else seems to just be like just their weight. There will shades are down. Yeah. You know, there's no looking and you're like, why are you making noise? They're sipping their cocktails. They're, they're, you know, they're getting, they're waiting for their meal. They get served a, you know, and uh, this must have been a while ago. They were serving meals. There's a nice long flight. It was comfortable. Okay. Did this really happen? I mean, yeah.

Speaker 5:

I mean

Speaker 3:

it's a good allegory. Alright, so where are you going with this? Well, well, like, okay. I feel like I'm, I'm, I'm on this plane or mine, I'm on a journey with everybody else on the planet and I'm, I'm looking out and I'm seeing the fricking wings on fire and everybody else has got the shades down and is like, is like drinking booze and watching, watching a stupid movie and no one in authority is even like seriously handling the situation. Yeah. They're just trying to placate, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. You got a problem with stupid movies. You wanna you wanna throw it down. But I mean, I mean, yeah, you can drive you nuts, right? Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Well, it can drive you so nuts that you'll put on a Santa Claus suit and protest a at Exxon on Christmas Eve. Right. I feel for the guy, I can totally relate to Ken. Well. Yeah, let's talk about who that was. This guy's name is Ken Ward. He's got a friend that lives here where we are in Corvallis named Leonard Higgins. So Leonard Higgins and Ken Ward, they were there what you would call valve turners. They uh, the, they got together with some others and colluded and decided we got to do something about climate change. They're there like you on the plane with the wing on fire. Like no one's doing some, fuck it, let's do something. So they got together and they coordinated an event where they shut down the pipelines that we're delivering tar sands oil to the United States from Canada and a really incredible ballsy. Yeah, that's it. You know, and it clearly a criminal action and you've got to trust pass. You've got to shut these valves down. Yeah.

Speaker 3:

For after he was at the gas station on Christmas Eve, uh, I think it was after, but I don't watch it was okay. He did this sort of pre, pre staged him getting together with these people and doing something more sort of realize I, I get it. I got to do something more organized and maybe bigger.

Speaker 2:

And Ken for his, uh, adult life was a, he's been an activist all along, you know, an environmentalist, a, hey, we gotta do something about these issues. Yeah. Yeah. And he's done it as a totally legitimate nonprofitier. And I think, like you were saying, Jason, as a professional conservation biologist, what, what's the difference? What am I doing right? And he just has gotten more and more into it over time, uh, to where he's a lot more radical things. And there was actually a movie that was made about him called the reluctant radical. Yup. And the, the, the chronicles his, you know, as a great movement, his reluctance a all the way through this from, you know, uh, Santa suits to, to actually, um, you know, getting arrested. I found, you know, I found the part of the movie very compelling when he goes, this is a psychiatrist or whoever that, yeah. What do they do to him?

Speaker 2:

He's actually wondering, he's like, you on the plane. He's, he's wondering why isn't anyone else worried about this? Why aren't we raising alarms? Why aren't we questioning, what are we, why, why can't we get this climate change issue, the, the attention that it needs? And so, because nobody else is with them, he's starting to think, well, what am I? Am I nuts? So he goes to see a psychiatrist and the psychiatrist asked him this very blunt question. Like, when you tell people how you're feeling and what your concerns are, what do they do? And he and Ken answers, well, they kind of say, yeah, maybe that's something. And then they go about their lives and the psychiatrist comes back with, well, when everybody else thinks one way and you're the one who thinks differently, that probably means you got a problem, right? You're wrong. Yeah. Yeah. So, uh, let me get you to get on this lithium for awhile. Ken's Kinda like, yeah, I think I'm right. But all right. Pulled down the shade. Don't look at them on fire and, and an order a drink.

Speaker 4:

So let's all self medicate. So this problem won't go away, but we wont be aware of it.

Speaker 2:

That's right. Well, like a battery and a Tesla car. He gets loaded up with lithium and he, uh, does he catch on fire while he probably would? Well, he, he didn't like it. He realized his, like emotionally he was tamped down. Uh, he just, he didn't like the way he thought. He didn't like his life and he went back to the psychiatrist and said, I'm getting off the lithium and a, and kind of, you know, really sat and thought about, I mean, he actually went the medical route and tried it, but he really sat and thought and said, no, I'm right. We need to address climate change and people aren't doing what, what needs to be done. So, you know, you really explored, am I crazy or is what's going on out here? Crazy. It's,

Speaker 4:

that's pretty remarkable because I would say most people, right, they, they've already got the, the shade down on the window. Right. And, uh, and if they get an inkling, you know, that the, that the engine just caught on fire. They're gonna, they're gonna maybe say something. But if other people are not concerned, I mean they've done these sociological studies, people were like, you showed them two lines and ones clearly longer than the other, right. But if you put them with other people who are all like, no, that shorter line, that one's a longer at the same size, then you're going to be like, fuck, I guess I, right. Yeah, they're the same size. Yeah. Like, yeah. So it's, it's understandable where most people be like, well, nobody else seems to be freaking out about the engine having caught on fire. So I'm just going to, well that's a problem. It's okay.

Speaker 3:

Yeah, we're social creatures and if we don't get, we don't get social reinforcement for our version of reality, then we, we feel nuts. And so often in order to resolve that, we then will go along with the social norm. Even if maybe deep down, you know, God, there's something wrong about this. And I think this is creating a tremendous problems. And there's people that are anxious and upset and they can't talk about real things. So in order for society to become sane again and in order for the individuals who are aware, who are looking at the fires to feel sane, we have to have like, honest conversations about this stuff. Yeah. Well that's why I wanted to be here. I wanted to have those kind of conversations with you guys and laugh too. Yeah. I can't, I can't look at that fire and not feel completely messed up about it. Uh, and so, you know, it's a way like I want to talk about these issues and I want to, but I want to laugh so that I don't cry. Yeah. I'd say laughter is a great way to process this and emotionally cope with this stuff.

Speaker 4:

Mostly I think just to not feel alone. We're lucky we get to, we get to interact with people, not only in my case, people that are smarter than me, but also people that like have a shared sense of what reality is and uh, and can commiserate about how fucking nuts everything. Yes.

Speaker 3:

And in the movie can start going on these, these, like, he gets arrested, like railroad, they sit on railroad tracks were like, coal is going to come through stopping a Coal train and these kind of things. And he gets arrested and he's gleeful because he's getting arrested with like 50 other people and they're going to the cell together and he's getting out and he's all grinning and he's just like, well, this is, this is great because I know I'm not alone in this. And, and so yeah, that was quite a transformation because in the Santa Claus suit, he was alone.

Speaker 2:

And when they, when the police show up, they're like, well, you can either stay here and keep doing this or you can leave, but if you stay, we're going to arrest you. And he's like, yeah, uh, I think I'll just get arrested. You know, he actually makes that, like, that's, to me, that's even, that's way gutsier then, then doing these bigger things when you have others along for that same rate. We're social creatures, right? Uh, yeah, truly amazing. But it makes you question yourself, you know, am I, am I nuts? Why is nobody else talking about this? Yeah. Well hopefully

Speaker 4:

this, this podcast not only will help us feel a little nuts, less nuts ourselves, you know, but, but others listening, I think that there is something, and we've heard this from a lot of people, there is something refreshing and um, uh, kind of a release when you actually can, can accept these things. You know, like it's sort of the first step to say, okay, this stuff is real and we're so scared of acknowledging the reality of what's out there. But there is something Cathartic about recognizing it, but it's really hard expect people to do it alone. I mean, Ken is, I would say a rare, a rare bird.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. We're all living in crazy town. We just got to figure out together how to navigate it.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. All right. So yeah, let's do it.

Speaker 1:

That's our show. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, please subscribe to the podcast and while you're at it, rate or review it at iTunes. That really helps get in front of more people. To learn more, visit postcarbon.org/crazytown and if you want to actually learn something instead of listening to us Bozos, you should check out Post Carbon Institute's Think Resilience course. It's four hours, 20 bucks, and will seriously change the way you see the world. Catch you next time on the mean streets of crazy town.