Only 100 companies will sign humanity’s death sentence. That’s it. One hundred corporate boards filled with sociopaths. But I’ll get back to that in a moment.
In recent weeks, climate activists in New York City jammed up foot traffic on Wall Street with a die-in, covering themselves in fake blood and lying on the ground. Other activists in Washington, D.C., blocked intersections using a variety of tactics, gridlocking traffic and pissing off a lot of people. It seems clear that when it comes to our impending extinction, practically no one cares, unless it means they have to sit in traffic for 10 extra minutes. Apparently there is nothing that upsets Americans more than being stuck in their car, moving at a negative MPH, completely unable to get to the jobs they fucking hate.
And that’s why those are the types of protests that matter—the ones that interrupt the flow of capitalism, not the colorful marches where we all show up for two hours while the politicians we’re ostensibly trying to influence go play golf. I’m not saying don’t get involved in the friendly marches—I’m just saying our rulers don’t care that you did. It’s like when you dress up your baby in a costume: I’m not saying you have to stop, but you’re only doing it for yourself. The ruling elite, like your baby, doesn’t actually care.
But since I aim to please, here’s a point for those of you who don’t give a shit about the climate crisis. The corporations that are screwing up your life, tainting your water, polluting your air, buying up your favorite coffee shop and turning it into a gas station, sucking your tax dollars up through subsidies, and all the while paying their employees a warm can of farts per hour—those corporations are the same ones creating the climate catastrophe.
In fact, The Guardian reported that just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These include Exxon Mobil, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Chinese and Russian coal, Chevron, BP, CNPC, ConocoPhillips, Gazprom, Lukoil, Total, Petrobas and many others.
One hundred incredibly rich yet morally bankrupt companies. That’s it.
It gets even worse. The Carbon Majors Report revealed that more than half of all industrial emissions over the past 30 years were put out by just 25 corporate and state-owned entities. Twenty-five companies are killing us, smothering us, stealing our futures while choking us (and not the fun kind of consensual choking done in the bedroom. This is the bad kind of choking that results in drought and hurricanes and your dog stuck in a tree!).
Basically, a tiny number of sociopaths make the decisions that are currently dooming us all, and as much as I’d like to tell you otherwise, those people don’t even notice if we all march outside in colorful hats. The marches are kinda like those “rate your experience” things at airports and restaurants, with giant color-coded buttons that feature four choices, ranging from a smiley face all the way down to the dreaded frowny face. I hate to get conspiratorial, but I’m 84% certain that those buttons aren’t even connected to anything. The powers that be just know that you feel better if you think you gave your opinion. Although I will say that the last time I “rated my experience,” I actually did get a response from TSA at the airport. I was only halfway through taking a dump on the frowny face when guys with guns showed up.
Point is, the only protests that create change are those that interrupt the flow of business, because these corporations will not give up easily. Too much profit rests in the balance for them to stop their prolonged execution of the human race.
The Guardian article continues: “Fossil fuel companies risked wasting more than two trillion dollars over the coming decade by pursuing coal, oil and gas projects that could be worthless in the face of international action on climate change and advances in renewables – in turn posing substantial threats to investor returns.”
They have made a two trillion-dollar gamble that we will all keep using fossil fuels even as society collapses. So they don’t just have a dog in the race, they have a goddamn elephant riding on top of a T. rex riding on top of Mike Pompeo. (One can argue that such an animal would not fare well in a race, but it is undeniably a significant beast to have in said contest.)
And I realize that for the average American—the regular person scraping by, trying to get the kids to eat, the dogs to poop and the grandpa to shut up for one second—climate change isn’t his or her top concern. But the truth is, your daily troubles are connected to the same corporations that are causing the largest existential threat we fleshy apes have ever faced. The higher-ups at those organizations control our governments, and therefore, our day-to-day lives.
As Tamara Pearson writes for Common Dreams, “The CEOs making these calculated decisions are hubristic-parasites with a fallacy-fetish, who treat wealth as a game—declaring themselves winners when they have more zeros than whole countries, while treading all over our magical habitat in their race for wealth. … Spoon-fed elitists who are so white and male and wealthy that they aren’t touched by the problems they create.”
While I love Pearson’s analysis, she’s wrong about one thing. These parasites are not only white and male. As President Obama pointed out last year in a speech, “American energy production, you wouldn’t always know it, but it went up every year I was president. … And you know that … suddenly America’s like the biggest oil producer … that was me, people.”
Our former president is actually proud of the fact that he helped put the nail in our coffin. When the ruling elite don’t think you’re paying attention, they brag about their crimes—the same way you or I might sit around privately and say, “Man, you wouldn’t believe how much weed I smoked last night.” Our powers that be sit around boasting, “Man, you wouldn’t believe how many regulations I gutted last night.”
The 100 corporations actively suffocating us in a blanket of global warming emissions are the same ones that run our government. They have wrapped their tentacles around our politicians, the regulatory agencies and the criminal justice system. It’s now one big, incestuous, money-obsessed pile of X-rated nastiness—and you and I are not part of it. We are the cannon fodder, the collateral damage, the chum. Until we stop these corporations, the expiration date of the human race is set in stone.
Feature photo | A protester splashes red paint at the logo of Shell, one of the three big oil companies operating in the Philippines, Oct. 5, 2018 in Makati, Philippines. Bullit Marquez | AP
Lee Camp is an American stand-up comedian, writer, actor and activist. Camp is the host of the weekly comedy news TV show “Redacted Tonight With Lee Camp” on RT America. He is a former comedy writer for the Onion and the Huffington Post and has been a touring stand-up comic for 20 years.
This article was originally published at Truthdig! and was republished with special permission from the author.