Monday, August 2, 2021

The Climate Inside a Coal Mine

No9Mine

Our tour guide was a fifth-generation miner. He had mined coal underground for more than ten years of his life. His father and grandfather both died of black lung. I took the picture shown here when we were a quarter mile into a mountain, the top of which was many hundreds of feet above our heads. Drops of water kept dripping on us. The ground was wet and the air was damp and cold. Outside the mine, it was a sunny 97 degrees. In the mine it was about 50. 

Hated enemy soldiers conquered by Rome were often sent to the mines as slaves. Few slaves had it worse. A slave miner’s lifespan was less than a year and a half. Early American miners’ lives were not much better. Mine owners valued their donkeys more than their men. Donkeys were expensive. If a miner died, there always was a new unsuspecting immigrant asking for a job as a miner. My wife’s great grandfather was one. 

The mining company owned the towns that miners lived in. Salaries were in company scrip. The scrip could be used as cash in the mining town. Everywhere else it was worthless, so miners could not save money and move away. If a miner’s tools wore out or anything broke near him, his salary was docked. If that happened enough, he would become, increasingly, in debt to the company. Deaths in mines happened often. Dead bodies were left untouched until the end of the day. Because houses were owned by the mining company, if a miner died his wife had three days to move out of her home, unless she could replace her husband with another miner, perhaps a son. Boys as young as nine were tasked with removing dirt from coal. A taskmaster stood behind them with a whip if they did not remove enough dirt. If the boys complained at home for being whipped, their parents beat them again for making waves that could cost their fathers their jobs. The gasses in the mine could kill or explode. If the canary in the coal mine died, a miner knew he would be next unless he ran as fast as he could. Nearly all surviving miners died young of lung disease; black lung was just one of several. 

Even today, miners' lives are not much better. The workday starts at five a.m. and ends at seven p.m. The first thing a miner does after taking a railway car into the mine is eat the lunch he brought with him. There is no time, place, or cleanliness for food later in the day. Our tour guide has vision problems and is unable to drive at night. Ten years in very minimal light, seeing sunlight only on Sundays causes incurable eye disease. Mining still is physically very dangerous. Our tour guide broke his back in a mining accident. He looks old, but he's actually rather young. 

Much of coal mining today is done by mountaintop removal. This requires fewer men and more machines. The toll on the environment, especially for people living nearby, is enormous. But there still are many coal mines with men digging coal in the way our tour guide did. We asked him if he would go back if he was healthy enough and he said he would. Why? He said it was not because of the money. Even today mining does not pay especially well. He would go back because of the camaraderie. I told him the story of an old mentor I had when I was young. He was a Viet Nam veteran who was injured four times in that war. He went back three times; the fourth time they would not take him back because his injuries were too severe. I asked him why he kept returning, despite the injuries? He said it was because his fellow soldiers would gladly die for him and he would gladly die for them. It was the camaraderie. Our coal miner tour guide said the feeling in the coal mines was the same. Because of the dangers, the odds of dying were always there. But the people working with him would gladly die for him and he would gladly die for them. It was the camaraderie. 

To me it is the camaraderie of being cannon fodder among friends. Soldiers who survived a war say it was the best time of their lives. There was excitement and there was fear. One’s personal capabilities were always being tested. Reflexes, peripheral vision, strength, and speed helped keep one alive. And there was always the camaraderie of living through Hell together. Building infrastructure for solar, wind, geothermal, or other sustainable power provides more jobs than coal mining. It might save millions of people from dying of climate change. But there is less camaraderie of being cannon fodder. Isn’t that a wonderful reason for continuing to mine coal and destroy life on Earth?



Who am I? Why am I writing this? I am creating a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. So please Friend me, Follow me, and Connect with me, and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Climate Change Is Simple and Will Probably Be an Easier Fix than COVID Was. NOT!

I am preaching to the choir. Most people reading these words have some idea how complex climate change is and how difficult it will be to mitigate. Those not in the choir? This is how they think: 

“Wildfires? Rain-soaking hurricanes? Droughts? Who cares whether it’s all man-made or not? How to fix it? Someone a lot smarter than me will figure it out, just like they came up with the coronavirus vaccine. After enough people die, the Government will put money into it and scientists will solve it in no time.” 

We need the average person to understand just how complex climate change is. It’s not just 97 climate scientists who “believe in” global warming. Planting a trillion trees is nice but it’s complicated: think forest fires and tree blight. Even if successful, the amount of improvement from so many trees is more than offset by the amount of carbon we put into the air. Even switching to electric cars is complicated: think coal-fired power plants providing electricity for the cars. 

I put together the chart shown above to help others realize some of the complexities of the climate issue. Forgive the pun, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The list could be much bigger and more complex. There are people in such diverse fields as economics, law, agriculture, and many others all fighting to keep Earth a living planet. A better understanding of the complexity and diversity of the climate battle may help, at least a little. 

So, members of the choir, use this graphic or the information in it to show the average person that climate change is too complex for easy fixes. Climate disaster can be stopped. But to do so requires climate attorneys, climate investors, climate journalists, as well as farmers, politicians, and, of course, climate scientists to beat this thing. Everyone should do something. The most important thing everyone can do is vote. Vote for candidates who have learned how complex climate change is and know the many variables that must be adjusted to beat this thing. And we can beat it.

I am writing a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. So please Friend me, Follow me, and Connect with me, and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Fear vs. Climate Disaster


Fear is powerful. We saw morgues overflowing with bodies. Our doctors were dying. We knew friends and relatives who had the disease. COVID-19 was coming for us! So we shut the economy down and sheltered in place.
Fear does not work as well against the climate crisis. Many of us know how scary climate change is. Books like Falter by Bill McKibben and Uninhabitable Earth by David Wallace-Wells are very frightening. But even for those who have read them, it’s not like COVID-19. Why does fear not work for us here? Major corporations have spent billions of dollars to convince us climate change is still disputed by scientists, the dangers are well in our future, and if they are all true, our ingenuity will fix everything before it can hurt us. Most people are pretty certain these are lies. But we believe them anyway in our hearts, even those of us who are certain they are lies. We want to believe them. 
Climate-crisis fear may not be as strong as coronavirus fear, but it is still powerful, even with major industries fighting against it. Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (the FUD Factor) is a tool of persuasion. Republicans have used it against Democrats for years. We have all heard, “Democrats are coming for our guns,” “Democrats will raise our taxes,” and “Democrats will let rapists and murderers into our country, and those who do not rape and murder, will take our jobs.” 
Michelle Obama says, “When they go low, we go high.” But the climate disaster is coming, and may destroy civilization and perhaps even kill all life on Earth. We must do everything possible to mitigate the disaster. I intend to use the FUD Factor to help save us. I recommend others use it as well. 
Four more years having a climate denier as President of the United States will make it much harder to mitigate the climate crisis. I am posting images on Twitter in which I present Trump as the devil. He is pointing at you. He may burn down your house. He may flood out your home. He may harm your grandchildren. And he may enable your loved ones to kill themselves. But you can do something to stop him. You can vote against him. 
Here are small versions of the Twitter images I am posting. I have only 1,350 Twitter followers. These images probably will not make a difference, but we all need to do whatever we can.


















Full-size versions of these images also appear on the next four postings on this blog. 

Who am I? Why am I doing this? I am a novelist, writing a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Also, please share and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Trump May Burn Down Your House

Wildfires are devastating the American West as never before. That is the result of thirty years of climate denial. Four more years having a climate denier as President of the United States will make it much harder to mitigate the climate crisis. I am using Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) in my personal efforts to do what I can to help. See Fear vs. Climate Disaster for my description of FUD. I am posting images on Twitter in which I present Trump as the devil. He is pointing at you. He may burn down your hose. But you can do something to stop him. You can vote against him.

Who am I? Why am I doing this? I am a novelist, writing a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Also, please share and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Trump May Flood Out Your Home

We had devastating hurricanes this year. It is the result of thirty years of climate denial. Four more years having a climate denier as President of the United States will make it much harder to mitigate the climate crisis. I am using Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (Fud) in my personal efforts to do what I can to help. See Fear vs. Climate Disaster for my description of FUD. I am posting images on Twitter in which I present Trump as the devil. He is pointing at you. He may flood out your home. But you can do something to stop him. You can vote against him.

Who am I? Why am I doing this? I am a novelist, writing a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Also, please share and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Trump May Harm Your Grandchildren

The climate apocalypse might kill us all. Four more years having a climate denier as President of the United States will make it much harder to mitigate the climate crisis. I am using Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (Fud) in my personal efforts to do what I can to help. See Fear vs. Climate Disaster for my description of FUD. I am posting images on Twitter in which I present Trump as the devil. He is pointing at you. He may harm your grandchildren. But you can do something to stop him. You can vote against him.

Who am I? Why am I doing this? I am a novelist, writing a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Also, please share and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Trump May Enable Your Loved Ones To Kill Themselves

I am a climate writer but this is not a climate tweet. I use it because it is horrifying to think of Trump enabling attractive young people to kill themselves, and saving life on Earth requires a reminder of his horrible nature. Trump's appointment of Amy Coney Barett not only will bring more gun deaths, it also is terrible for the climate. The climate apocalypse might kill us all. Four more years having a climate denier as President of the United States will make it much harder to mitigate the climate crisis. I am using Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (Fud) in my personal efforts to do what I can to help. See Fear vs. Climate Disaster for my description of FUD. I am posting images on Twitter in which I present Trump as the devil. He is pointing at you. He may enable your loved ones to kill themselves. But you can do something to stop him. You can vote against him.

Who am I? Why am I doing this? I am a novelist, writing a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I need a great publishing company to market the novel and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. Please help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Also, please share and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Covid19: Just a Preview


With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are in fear and our lives are disrupted. I’m working from home. My wife’s business has closed. Several neighbors are very ill, confirmed cases with the virus. We are in self-quarantine. Our retirement plans have lost 45% of their value. The only funny part is there’s no toilet paper to be found anywhere.
The COVID-19 fear and disruption probably are temporary. A few years from now this is likely to be a bad memory for most of us, a very bad memory for some. The climate crisis will cause greater fear and disruption of our lives, and it will not be as temporary. It never will be just a memory. Pandemic disease may be one of the results of the climate crisis, but it most likely will not be the first or even the worst of the climate terrors. That probably will be the climate refugee crisis. 
For the sake of example, consider Lincoln, Nebraska, a city with about 285,000 people. It will not be bothered by rising seas or hurricanes. The high planes aquifer system (which includes the Ogallala aquifer) is running out of fresh water, but Lincoln is on its wettest part so it will not have the extensive drought problems the old “dust-bowl” areas will have. What Lincoln does have is a reputation for being “refugee friendly.” 
For the sake of example, let’s assume very few foreign refugees get to Lincoln. Let’s also assume that Lincoln does not receive many refugees from South Florida, where sea-level rise will displace millions of Americans. But one can easily assume that Lincoln will accept refugees fleeing the drought of the new dust bowl, reaching from Western Nebraska southward to, and including, Texas. These refugees will be experiencing far more fear and disruption than we feel today with COVID-19. They will have left behind good jobs and air-conditioned homes and full refrigerators. Unfortunately, they will not leave behind their guns.
The good people of Lincoln, at first, will invite refugees into their homes and shelters, until these fill up. Motel and hotel rooms will run out of vacancies, but Americans unfortunate enough to live in areas afflicted by climate change will keep arriving. Lincoln will continue trying to help. They will build refugee camps in public parks, using tax dollars to supply water, food, electricity, portable toilets, and construct make-shift homes and bring in trailers. For a while, they probably will even have toilet paper. But refugees will keep arriving and everything will be used up quickly. 
At the same time that refugees will be moving to cities like Lincoln, Nebraska, the world’s economy will be suffering, with climate-change problems at most coastlines and many drought areas. So the people of Lincoln will not be able to find jobs for their guests, even for those with the best education and experience. Electricity grids will be strained, so there will be brownouts and occasional black-outs. There may be enough water, but distribution of it to the new refugees will be difficult. Having enough food will become a concern. Sanitary conditions in the refugee camps will deteriorate. Three-level bunk beds will be built with barely room to walk between them. Showers will be very rare. There will not be enough portable toilets and those existing will not be processed as often as necessary. Common colds will turn into pneumonia, and disease will become rampant. Soon there will be more refugees than there are citizens of Lincoln.
The refugees with guns will come into residential parts of the city and will riot. There will not be enough police. The National Guard and even the U.S. Military will be busy with cities that are going under water or are experiencing serious drought and will not come to help. The rioters will try to steal food, water, and electricity, and the city’s electricity will end, and sinks and toilets will no longer work. Lincoln, Nebraska, will die. This will happen to nearly all cities throughout the United States and the world.
The scenario described above will happen unless, in the very near future, we stop sending carbon up into the atmosphere and start pulling it down. The rest of the world will have the same problems American cities will have. Cities such as Lincoln, with no drought or sea-level problems of their own, will be overwhelmed with refugees overburdening all attempts at support, and bringing crime, riots, and disease. Police and armed forces will be unable to stop the rioters, and hospitals will not be able to handle the diseases. Supplies of food, power, and water will fail because supply will not be able to meet demand. Economies will be in turmoil, and then governments will collapse. This is inevitable unless we stop putting greenhouse gasses into our air now. What we are seeing today with COVID-19 will not compare to the horror of the climate apocalypse. This is not a horror movie with coming attractions.


I am finishing the writing of a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I am confident it has the artistic quality to draw a large audience. I believe I’ve made it persuasive. But my novel, Mourning Dove, needs your help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Mourning Dove needs a great publishing company to market it and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. So please friend me, follow me, and connect with me, and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Climate Books

UPDATED

As research for writing the novel MOURNING DOVE, I’ve read more than 75 books related to global warming. To see the books I read and my comments about them, go to my  Climate Books web page. Clicking on a book's picture will take you to a page where you can buy it. (I don't make any money out of it. The more people read about global warming, the better off we will all be.)

Please help me in my personal war against global warming. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. I am writing a powerful global warming novel. I need a great publishing company to market it and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. So please Friend me, Follow me, and Connect with me. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.

Shawn Oueinsteen       
www.shawnouinsteen.com
mourningdovenovel.blogspot.com 



Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Freud's Double Nephew Can Help Mitigate the Climate Crisis


The undisputed father of public relations was Edward Bernays. His mother was Sigmund Freud’s sister; his father’s sister was Freud’s wife. He taught the world that facts and truth do not persuade the public. It is Freudian psychology that moves public opinion.
Freud believed sex and other deep-seated instincts controlled one’s mental state. Today those in favor of ignoring the climate crisis have successfully portrayed the Toyota Prius as a “wimpy” car. Big, gas-guzzling SUVs are manly, strong, and virile. Similarly, solar power and wind power can’t “get it up” when the sun is not shining or the wind is not blowing. Coal-fired power plants are big, strong, and always up to the task. Of course, Bernays is the reason car commercials frequently show sexy women.
Climate scientists talk of two degrees Celsius, 450 ppm, and three meters sea-level rise. There is no Freudian psychology with that. Even when we talk of the millions who may become climate refugees, or even the thousands who have already died from global-warming-enhanced storms, there are few subconscious emotions. Facts do not persuade. People accept “alternative facts” as equal to scientific facts. Facts are not trusted. They do not draw large audiences. People trust and act upon hormone-driven feelings deeply embedded in our psyches.
So how do we persuade the world to mitigate climate change? How do we save the lives of our children, and perhaps even save the planet? We have to use what wins: reach for the hormones, not the brains. We also need large audiences to hear us.
The campaign staff of Lyndon Johnson (LBJ) knew the writings of Edward Bernays. Their Daisy commercial was largely responsible for LBJ’s 1964 election landslide. It showed a 3-year old girl picking daisies, with the strong implication that she is obliterated by a nuclear bomb. That hit the maternal (and paternal) hormonal instincts extremely hard.
Greta Thunberg’s Katowice, Poland, UN Climate Change Conference speech touched the same parental instincts. She was fifteen, nervous, with hair out of place, and showed symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. That speech made her famous in the climate-activist community. She was and still is wonderful for the environmental-crisis cause, but today she is well-groomed and more angry than nervous. She is less convincing now than she was then when she more strongly touched upon parental instincts. She also now attracts nasty, and perhaps evil, ridicule.
Jane Fonda, at 80, gets arrested every Friday fighting the climate crisis. Because of her acting talent, fame, and history, her activism reaches a large audience, but it does not change public opinion. The sexy and beautiful Barbarella (a character she played when she was young) was a persuasive campaigner for the anti-Vietnam War cause because she appealed to our sex drives. Most men wanted her. Many women wanted to be her. Even then, though, she also attracted nasty ridicule: Hanoi Jane. Despite the ridicule, the climate fight needs activists who reach audience’s sexual desires.
The Beatles persuaded young people everywhere to grow their hair long. How? By writing and performing romantic and sexy songs. Consider the lyrics to “She Was Just Seventeen.” One of the things that made Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A Changing” such a powerful song was his use of the human instinct to “join the herd.” 
So, what is needed to persuade the public to stop the climate crisis? Sexy scientists? No. The image of the beautiful Dr. Kim Cobb, throwing her fist in the air while speaking at a “Stand Up for Science” rally will stick with me for the rest of my life. But, unfortunately, sexy scientists giving speeches do not reach large audiences. I’m one of the few people who saw it.
To mitigate the upcoming climate disaster, we not only need to use Freudian urges, we also need people with the talent to attract large audiences. We need sexy, young Jane Fondas, romantic Beatles, Bob Dylans, poets, novelists, and even presidential candidates. But they all have to use techniques that reach the subconscious mind of the public. Facts, truth, and science cannot persuade the average person to save the planet. Using our deepest, darkest urges perhaps can.
The ideas of Bernays, involving Freudian psychology, can be just as persuasive today as the Daisy commercial was in 1964. We need such persuasive strength today.


I am finishing the writing of a powerful global warming novel as part of my personal war against the climate crisis. I am confident it shows enough artistic quality to draw a large audience. I believe I’ve made it persuasive, in a Bernaysian way. But my novel, Mourning Dove, needs your help. Friend me on Facebook, Follow me on Twitter, and connect with me on LinkedIn. Mourning Dove needs a great publishing company to market it and print a lot of copies. Publishers look at an author's social media numbers as a sign of potential buyers. So please friend me, follow me, and connect with me, and comment on what I post. Consider it as doing a small part in saving humanity from the ravages of global warming. Thanks.