Terrifically Boring

The movements on the Green energy front (What does it mean?) have become complex, obscured tea-leaves reading exercises and here’s another one that will get little attention though it rolls disparate dynamics into one [silent] scream:

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Monday unanimously rejected a proposal by Energy Secretary Rick Perry that would have propped up nuclear and coal power plants struggling in competitive electricity markets.

The independent five-member commission includes four people appointed by President Trump, three of them Republicans. Its decision is binding.

TL;DR – the commission endorses markets. ‘Sustainable’ was an iffy signifier until people. Started. Making. Money. Or put another way: Guy comes into his shrink’s office after a hundred sessions and the doc lays it all out. Everything comes down to: It doesn’t matter which green we’re talking about. They both point to the same place. Ugly, perhaps, and maybe not inevitable enough to happen in time. So parades and grandstanding will seem a little gratuitous and a kind of devolution at the hand of the money power. Again, hate the irony, not the player.

Image: future skate park?

Green Like Them

Elizabeth Kolbert in The New Yorker on the literary – and I use the term loosely – phenomenon that is eco-living as an extreme lifestyle:

The basic setup of “No Impact Man” is, by this point, familiar. During the past few years, one book after another has organized itself around some nouveau-Thoreauvian conceit. This might consist of spending a month eating only food grown in an urban back yard, as in “Farm City” (2009), or a year eating food produced on a gentleman’s farm, as in “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” (2007). It might involve driving across the country on used cooking oil, as in “Greasy Rider” (2008), or giving up fossil fuels for goats, as in “Farewell, My Subaru” (2008).

All of these stunts can be seen as responses to the same difficulty. Owing to a combination of factors—population growth, greenhouse-gas emissions, logging, overfishing, and, as Beavan points out, sheer self-indulgence—humanity is in the process of bringing about an ecological catastrophe of unparalleled scope and significance. Yet most people are in no mood to read about how screwed up they are. It’s a bummer. If you’re the National Academy of Sciences or the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or the Pope or Al Gore, you can try to fight this with yet another multivolume report or encyclical. If not, you’d better get a gimmick.

And we wonder why people move onto other, more pressing matters. Writers are always looking for angles – society rewards I’ll-get-mine all the time – and as she wittily describes, this is what these folks are doing. It’s as American as the three car garage. Fine. Cashing in. You know, Green. I get it.

Yuk-yuk. It reminds me that, despite the trends, there are more interesting things to write books and make moves about* and these are the mere trifles of people who sit in writers’ workshops and mfa programs, trying to think of the next big book idea. They’re smart and well-trained so I’m not surprised that they figure out the caricature, which seems to arrive pre-mocked. Just don’t go meta and get too depressed by what they write/film; the writers, their agents and editors will lose interest with this and move onto something else before too long.

*There are even stories to write and film that have never been written about or filmed before.