Last week, The Other Hudson Valley was purchased by the newspaper conglomerate Digital First Media, which plans to convert it into a satellite site for its larger newspaper holdings. The Other Hudson Valley will now exclusively carry general-interest content from these other newspapers.
Kidding! – just kidding. But everything is going to change, and here’s why.
I’ve spent the last couple weeks reading two things: Derrick Jensen’s “Endgame,” and the 2019 UN Emissions Gap Report. The former I actually acquired several years ago, and it has sat on my bookshelf the entire time I’ve written TOHV. Staring at me.
I haven’t picked up “Endgame” because it frightens me. It’s about the end of the world. No, not through Christian eschatology, a la the “Left Behind” series, or through an alien invasion, like in “The War of the Worlds.” It’s about the end of the world brought on by our malicious and depraved destruction of the environment, and how to best mitigate this holocaust by, well, destroying civilization.
Environmental destruction will cause civilization to collapse anyway, Jensen writes, so we might as well do it on our own terms, in a manner that causes the death of the smallest number of humans and other living things.
It’s not the type of book you want to carry through a TSA checkpoint – Jensen literally advocates blowing up dams. He argues those in power will never give up on profits, on an expanding economy, on comfort, and therefore destructive measures are necessary.
“Endgame” was published in 2006. The latest UN Emissions Gap report (which tracks greenhouse gas emissions and the gap between our current trajectory and the trajectory necessary to, y’know, survive) was released late last year.
“The summery findings are bleak,” the report begins. Great.
We are not doing enough, and the situation is more dire now than at the publishing of “Endgame.” Total greenhouse gas emissions have risen an average of 1.5 percent annually over the last decade.
There are signs of hope – Greta Thunberg was just named Time’s Person of the Year, and several American car manufacturers recently inked a deal with California to produce more fuel-efficient cars, whether Trump likes it or not – but guess what? It’s practically nothing. Hope won’t save the world, much less mere signs of it.
Whenever I glanced at “Endgame,” I felt a rising panic in my chest. It welled up from the base of my ribcage and into my lungs, threatening to calcify them with fear and suffocate me. So I always glanced away. I stuck my head in the sand.
I realized a couple weeks ago sticking your head in the sand is the quickest way to suffocate.
One of the qualities that makes me a good journalist is my intellectual empathy – I’m always able to see both sides of an issue, understand where its’ proponents are coming from, and write a balanced story. It confounds me most journalists are unable to do this.
There are no two sides to the survival of everything on the planet.
This is what I’m now going to be writing about: environmental issues in the Hudson Valley. I might write about other topics, but, unlike in the past, I will take a side – whichever side is better for the environment.
For instance, abortion. I’m just going to come out and say it: I’ve always had huge ethical problems with the practice. However, in an environmental context, abortion access is a good thing, because restricting it would lead to greater overpopulation, which would harm the environment.
So now I’m pro-choice.
President Trump: I’ve never taken a stance on his presidency in The Other Hudson Valley. In my personal life, I take issue with the majority of things he does, but not all of them, and certainly not to the degree most people around me do.
No one’s actions are purely beneficial or detrimental, much less purely right or wrong, I said. The economy’s doing great – can’t argue with that. I thought NAFTA was bad for the country too. Trump supporters are inaccurately demonized by most liberals, as well as the media, which has had a hard-on for Trump’s removal since election night.
But if I’m really being honest with myself, I realize I’ve never publicly castigated Trump because I’m aware about half of Columbia County voted for him; many of them read TOHV, and I didn’t want to lose their viewership.
But none of this matters. The world’s in flames, and Trump doesn’t even believe in fire. So fuck him.
With that, I re-introduce to you The Other Hudson Valley. New & improved, and probably a bit more shrill.
I hope it helps, because the world needs all the help it can get.