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COMING IN 2021
At a time like this, scorching irony, not convincing argument, is needed. O! had I the ability, and could reach the nation’s ear, I would, to-day, pour out a fiery stream of biting ridicule, blasting reproach, withering sarcasm, and stern rebuke.
— Frederick Douglass
This isn’t another book about climate science. It’s based on science, but Abolish Oil Now! is about people. It aims to inspire anyone who cares about climate change with stories from the most heroic social movement of the past, drawing a thought-provoking and inspiring analogy between today’s fight to save the climate today and the fight to abolish slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Sir David Attenborough, Naomi Klein and broadcaster Chris Matthews have all said that today’s movement to save the world from climate catastrophe is so big and so consequential that it can only have one precedent: the multigenerational crusade to free millions of people of African descent from chains against opposition from the richest and most powerful industry on earth.
Racial Equity and Freedom Meet Climate Justice
Abolition was about racial justice and freedom. These concerns remain more timely than ever, especially after the death of George Floyd in 2020. And with the clock ticking–scientists have warned that the world has only until about 2030 to make major changes to cut greenhouse pollution–climate action is more urgent than ever before.
Abolish Oil Now brings these two interests together into one progressive appeal: We are the generation who must fight to right the longstanding wrongs of fossil fuel pollution and racial inequity. And now is the time when we can actually win.
Back then, abolitionists from Frederick Douglass and William Lloyd Garrison in the United States and Olaudah Equiano, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Clarkson in Britain faced the immense wealth and political control of the most powerful industry of their day, which American abolitionists called the Slave Power.
The Slave Power and the Oil Power
This alliance of plantation owners, manufacturers, merchants, and financiers who profited from making and selling crops like cotton, sugar, and tobacco with the cheapest and most oppressed labor possible fought to the death to stop all efforts to free slaves, whether in the states of the American South or the colonies of the Caribbean. But through the vision, courage, and perseverance of men and women of conscience, both black and white and located on both sides of the Atlantic, abolition achieved a victory that almost everybody said was impossible.
Today, everyone who cares about the climate must face the massive money and influence of fossil fuel companies and their allies, what we might call the Oil Power. With the same heart and dedication that abolitionists brought to the cause of freedom, we can prevail today against long odds to achieve what many claim is impossible–to stabilize our planet’s climate and save humanity.