Hopefully it’s clear that I’m not arguing for averting one’s gaze entirely from harsh realities. We have a moral obligation to do what we can. I do think that excessive media consumption and Twitter activism can become counterproductive. And when that happens, it’s time to embrace the sweet emptiness of painted drywall, or another real-world object of your choice.
The Guardian reported recently on the Hardin coal plant in Montana coming back to life to power a Bitcoin mining operation. Not only is this bad for climate change, but the pollutants wreak havoc on public health, causing premature deaths and childhood asthma. NFTs are typically sold via the Ethereum blockchain, which is also extremely energy-intensive. While developers are working on less environmentally-destructive alternatives, the system as it stands now is a form of “slow violence” with the victims out of sight, as this writer puts it.
As others have pointed out, drilling new oil wells takes years, there are already plenty of unused drillilng permits, and if we don’t decarbonize we’re all going to roast. To the extent that we “need more gas,” this is entirely due to the fact that we are fifty years behind on switching away from fossil fuels, courtesy of the very people now yelling for more drilling. So you can safely dismiss any rhetoric about drilling as GOP/fossil fuel industry propaganda.
The fact that we are seeing so many anti-LGBTQ bills at the state level in the US is not unrelated to Russia’s war on Ukraine. Gay rights have long been used by Putin as an ideological wedge issue to forge a Russian identity in opposition to the “decadent” globalized West. Russia’s “gay propaganda” law passed in 2013 casts a wide net around anything that could be remotely perceived as promoting “non-traditional” sexual relationships to minors.
For more on the Russian Orthodox leader’s remarks on the war-justifying threat posed by gay pride parades (which are allowed in Kyiv), this article has a decent summary.
This Guardian article provides a synopsis of some of the more ridiculous assertions by Carlson, Bannon, and others. And this is a good explainer on the energy issues at stake (bottom line: renewables pose a threat to Russia through energy independence.)
In case you need a translation for the third panel, Putin is saying “Thanks, fools!” Though his actual net worth is impossible to know, this Money article lays out the likely range.