Future changes to our climate, from an increasingly variable water cycle to extreme weather events, and how they affect us depend on the choices we make today.

My wife and I, and our three children moved into Draper in 2015, looking for a home above the valley’s smog inversion. The smoke-filled skies all summer long from fires intensified by regional changes to climate and years of exceptional drought, along with the threat of frequent toxic-dust-bowls from a soon-to-be-dry lakebed of the Great Salt Lake, and the dwindling seasonal snowpack are all making it difficult to stay.

February 28, 2020

Frank Pallone, Jr., NJ; Committee on Energy and Commerce, Chair
Bobby L. Rush, IL; Energy subcommittee, Chair
Kathy Castor, FL; Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, Chair
Paul Tonko, NY; Environment and Climate Change subcommittee, Chair
and Debra A. Haaland, NM; National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands subcommittee, Chair

Attachment: Extinguishing the Social License to Burn Fossils Act (ELBA)

Dear Chairmen and Chairwomen,

I am writing to ask you to consider the attached bill because my representative, John Curtis, will not. If necessary, I hope to introduce this legislation myself in the 117th Congress.

As you are well aware, we…

The discursive construction of race is a tool of rationalizing and excusing dehumanization. Use of this tool is as much about the hegemony’s rhetorical construction of their own racial identity as it is about assigning a racial taxonomy on others. White supremacy, antisemitism, and manifest destiny, for example, are all discursive constructions of racial hegemony by those believing themselves to be White. This tool is used to defend appropriation of Indigenous lands, chattel slavery, Jim Crow segregation, Cherokee removal, Lakota starvation, Shoshone massacre, police brutality and militarization — among many other violations of human rights.

My life is fueled by the cheap energy supplied by burning fossils as fuel. I bet yours is to, and that’s The Problem. Unless you’ve won the lottery and can a build fortress of sustainable solitude, it’s impossible to escape this carbon footprint without turning to homelessness. These are the options placed in front of us by They, the builders of the nation.

I don’t know about you, but I have bills to pay. I need health care, a home, and food for my family. I recognize that, at this moment, I’m more fortunate than most; I manage a large…

Utah State Capitol, September 20th, 2019. Photo credit Nate Hole

My speech from the September 20th Climate Strike in Salt Lake City.

Listen to this speech on SoundCloud

I don’t need to tell you why we’re here, you showed up. I don’t need to tell you that the 1 degree warmer world we live in today is already killing thousands and displacing millions. I don’t need to tell you that air pollution in Utah causes thousands of deaths and miscarriages every year. I don’t need to tell you that a world warmed more than 1.5 degrees is genocide and child abuse. Because you know, you showed up.

Take a…

The 5 biggest oil companies earn more in 60 seconds than 95% of American households make in a year.

There are over 520 billion barrels of oil in the probable reserves of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates alone (source) — enough to cover the Great Lakes in over six feet of crude oil sludge. Most of this oil can hit the market at all-in-costs of less than $12 per barrel (source), so these oil resources represent 17–28 trillion dollars in profits (at $46–$66 per barrel) — revenues (if shared equally) of about $1 million for every family of five in those countries.

Here’s the problem — our remaining budget is only 420–580 billion tonnes…

Let’s be honest. I own a WWII-era bolt action rifle which I bought years ago. It’s stored in the house about a hundred feet and a flight of stairs away from the ammo. I didn’t buy it for, and it won’t help me in the case of home invasion; that’s what I have a dog and a home security system for.

Let’s be honest. As a young man, I bought the rifle in case I’m ever called on to fight for freedom. This doesn’t make me an extremist, a secessionist, conspiracy theorist, or a revolutionary. I just means that I…

It is unparliamentarian to refer to the President’s tweets as racist. “Freedom of speech is a pillar of our democracy,” said Utah Reps. Rob Bishop, John Curtis and Chris Stewart in a joint statement issued after voting against House Resolution 489 Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress. It is a pillar, no doubt; but free speech can also undermine our institutions as parliamentary debates devolve into trench warfare, and so “unparliamentary” speech is censored in the Capitol chambers despite Reps. …

first published in The Canticle (University of Utah, 2019)

Aeneas, grasping his shield and long spear …

I am listening to the Iliad, looking straight ahead, because ever since I became a writer I’ve been trying to become well-read. But reading has never been an easy pastime for me. Highway hypnosis — “may in large measure result from an understimulating traffic and road environment and produce a suboptimal activational state in which relevant cues from the environment are ignored” [1] — have you experienced it? I often do, both on the road and the page. Reading has never been an…

First published in Earth Tones Journal, SLC, Utah, April 2019

Growing up in the “Mormon diaspora” — migrants from Great Basin Mormon settlements who relocated throughout the US for educational or employment opportunities — the romanticized stories of Mormon pioneers, and particularly the 1847 arrival in the Salt Lake Valley, are very familiar to me. My family, once a year when I was a child, would make a Walkaraian journey from Santa Fe, New Mexico, to visit paternal and maternal grandparents just north of Nuche’s Timpanogó (Provo–Orem). Mormon settlement of Utah had a remote, almost mythological feel as a personal…

Russ Fugal

Former U.S. Congress candidate for UT–3 www.Fugal2020.com/elba/

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