There's litle I can add to the condemnation of Putin (and his American enablers: T***p, Tucker Carlson, Fox News, et al) regarding the torture and killings of innocent civilians in Ukraine. It's a dark time. Not just for Ukraine, but for the world. But there may be an unexpected silver lining in these dark clouds.
Putin's invasion, successful or not, will have far reaching global effects, especially in terms of the availability of food (wheat and other grains) for populations in the Middle East and Africa already at risk of famine. Ukraine is the breadbasket of much of the world, and farmers can't go into their fields if they're full of mines left or they're under fire from retreating Russian troops.
For more about the broader impact of the invasion, listen to the podcast where Ezra Klein interviews Fiona Hill, the most knowledgeable U.S. Russian expert we have. Hill sketches out a dark future, one in which global famine becomes a reality, and offers a sobering view of what is to come from a war where Putin refuses to recognize the integrity of an independent nation. It kept me up long into the night.
But is there a reason for hope? Is there possibly a silver lining somewhere within these dark clouds?
First, as you've seen in the reporting on the Ukrainian army, it's holding its own against Putin's best. The most recent success was their sinking of his flagship in the Black Sea. That ship not only sent cruise missiles into Ukraine, it also provided air cover for their bombers, and was their center for command & control. The Ukrainians are fighting for their lives, and doing a damned good job of it.
Secondly , the only way Putin can finance his war and prop up the Russian economy against the West's economic sanctions, is through the sale of fossil fuels. Proceeds from gas and oil sales are paying for the bombs which rain down on hospitals, schools, train stations and apartment buildings in Ukraine, and for the bullets being put into the heads of civilians.
But this has led Europe to an "ah-ha" moment in re: to their dependency on Russian fossil fuels. They are now working, with our help, to wean themselves off the Russian oil/gas teat, and finding new sources of energy, including renewables. Europeans are well ahead of America in using renewable, non-fossil fuel sources of energy to stem the climate tsunami that is coming from rising global temperatures and, hopefully, impetus from the Ukrainian war will result in their moving even faster in this direction.
In light of this, I believe that, though we feel our hearts breaking at visions of civilians being bound and executed by Russian soldiers, the world is being given an opportunity to do both the honorable and the good thing by cutting off fossil fuel sales from Putin's regime, while at the same time, finding ways to wean ourselves off fossil fuels FOREVER.
Europe and progressive states in the U.S. are working toward a goal of saving the earth for our grandchildren (sorry, folks, it's already too late for our children), but too many Americans act as if there were no crisis, as if Mother Nature will somehow pull us out of this hell of wildfires and floods that are becoming second nature.
But what can one person do?
It's got me considering two things: heat pumps and electric vehicles.
Heat pumps are an efficient way to use the earth's stable below ground temperature to heat and cool our homes. At the bottom of this post I'll share some links to information on this technology and what it can do for you. And, while the technology can be expensive, there are governmental subsidies which lower the cost.
The same is true for electric vehicles, which are being improved with every new model that comes off the assembly line. They provide the equivalent of from 85 to 110 miles per gallon, with a range of 220 – 350 miles, and most come with a large government rebate.
Heat pumps and/or electric cars may not work for everyone, but for those with enough land for the heat pump piping, and for who don't need a car to drive long distances on a regular basis, these two options can significantly reduce one's use of gasoline and natural gas.
So it is that Putin's brutal attempt to destroy Ukraine, by highlighting the danger of Western Europe's addiction to Russian fossil fuels, could possibly have a silver lining: an unintended, positive impact on the battle against the ongoing effects of climate change.
Thanks for reading this far.
Here are some links related to the above:
How To Help Ukraine:
Ezra Klein Podcast:
Fully Electric Vehicles & Subsides: