October 15th, 2009
|09:53 am - Writer's Block: 1, 2, 3, 4, Journaling can cool earth's core!|
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Over the past few months there has been much press time devoted to the issue of national health care. While I believe that this is an important issue and that national health care is in need of a make-over, this article is not about health care. Nor is about all the other topics of today, the economy or the war. This is about something that is in fact much more important. So important it makes all these issues non-issue. The environment.
According to the New York Times on August 10th in an article titled Climate Change Seen As Threat To US Security by John. M. Broder, I shouldn’t despair, at least some portions of government are giving time to the environment. Apparently studies at the National Defense University have finally taken into account what scientist have been saying for decades. That global climate change is happening and that it will have profound effects of the world. Thanks N.D.U for finally getting on board. The article goes on to discuss how areas “particularly sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia” will be unstable. If you look at those areas and then compare them to what is generally defined as the ‘Muslim World’, you will see a striking correlation. A double wammy, adding insult to injury. Not only has the Defense department finally decided that we haven’t all been raving for years, but now they are using that every information to insinuate that we need more military to protect ourselves from, and offer “assistance” to the areas previously mentioned.
As I often do, I checked out the comments section to see what my fellow citizens thought. Now, it’s important to note that the New York Times is by no means a cross section of society. Catering to mostly elite, mostly liberal, mostly white readers they are too limited to be called the voice of the people, but they are the voices of some people. Presumable elite, liberal, white people, and so I was curious to see their responses, as they are often one of the only groups whose voices are ever heard.
Three people out of the first ten either denied climate change was happening, or dismissed it as ‘no biggie’. And here I was pretty sure that we all had agreed on the facts, just not on the response. True the name Global Warming is a little confusing when temperatures over the summer have been record low, which is why I prefer ‘climate change’. What is currently happening to our climate is not limited to warming, though that is the overall trend. In some places it will cause deserts, in others rainforest, snow may fall where it never has before. Western Mass may look more like Oregon than any of us ever had planned on.
Severe weather is likely to become common fare as global warming worsens. The contrast between those denying the effects of climate change and those living with them is stark. Such a disconnect between facts and opinion can be deadly.
The fact that some people still consider global warming to be a hoax, a left wing conspiracy is frightening. Refuting the facts at this point does not portray the naïve ignorance of the uninformed, but a stubborn refusal to accept the truth.
That ignorance will prove to be our downfall if it prevents us from taking seriously the issue at hand. Though to some extent I can rationalize the apathy of a generation who will not be alive to see the effects of their actions, by that same reasoning I cannot comprehend the apathy of the present generation. These are the issue we will be dealing with, that we are dealing with. It is our actions that can break the cycle of pollution, exploitation and destruction.
Obama has proven to be disappointingly lackluster in terms of environmental policy. Instead of the change he promised we have a new policy riddled with loop-holes for corporations to jump through. The fact is without a planet to support us it isn’t going to matter if there’s a public option, or what the deficit is. It won’t matter if we are attacking countries for the right or wrong reasons, or even if there are countries. If our environment ceases to be able to support life as we know it, its going to make all the socio-economic-political problems of the day moot points and the actions taken to protect corporations, to preserve profits, will seem very hollow.
We should be investing in alternative energies, in sustainable development. We should be view environmental challenges as opportunities for alleviating some of our of our economic and health woes. How long are we going to sit idle and wait for somebody else to take action? Realize that if the government won’t take action we still can. Little actions add up, we can all have an effect. Live sustainably, boycott companies that contribute to the problem, lobby for real change not lip service. Apathy is the ultimate act of selfishness.
Word. The problem is, given the number of tragedies we are made aware of in the world today, due to today's power of information, how do we choose what issue to work on without being overwhelmed? And while it isn't too difficult to argue that Climate Change takes precedence, for all the reasons you mentioned, how does one balance supporting one's self (no easy task in this economy) with working on energy reform? It's difficult to discuss the problems of even the very near future, when people are having problems feeding their families now. Sadly, for the average person, 'Apathy about making Change' is the close cousin of 'limited Ability to make Change'.
But don't get me wrong. I agree with you.