If Hurricane Sandy wasn’t a wake up call about the looming dangers of climate change and global warming, then we’re hopelessly lost and nothing can shake us from what appears to be an endless slumber.
We sleep at our own peril, and if our leaders can’t heed this disastrous warning, this harbinger of total wreck and ruin then we must remove them and take on this task as citizen soldiers.
Neither climate change nor global warming received nary a nod from the candidates during the recent presidential debates. In fact, for many months, if not years, the Republicans have pooh-poohed the idea of global warming; treating it as though it was a piece of science fiction.
I think President Obama now realizes the importance of taking on this matter, to put it high on his agenda of things to do in this final second term. And if he’s still a bit vague and hesitant, I suggest he take a gander at David Remnick’s essay on the current New Yorker magazine.
Remnick, the magazine’s editor, elucidates cogently and clearly on these pressing environmental issues, stressing a need to give them immediate and considerable attention.
“In 2010,” Remnick writes, “the Pentagon declared, in its Quadrennial Defense Review, that changes in the global climate are increasing the frequency and the intensity of cyclones, droughts, floods, and other radical weather events, and that the effects may destabilize governments; spark mass migrations, famine, and pandemics; and prompt military conflict in particularly vulnerable areas of the world, including the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The Pentagon, that bastion of woolly radicals, did what the many denialists in the House of Representatives refuse to do: accept the basic science.”
Many of these troubling problems are already manifest on the planet, and they are sure to get worse before they get better, if our leaders continue to allow the creeks to rise, the fires to burn, and people to starve.
As Hurricane Sandy demonstrated in all of her fury, a super-storm blasting the East Coast two years in a row is not an ordinary occurrence. Something is dramatically wrong as Remnick notes. Our planet is in pain and the only remedy is a cessation of the pollution that is poisoning the air, the water, and even the food we eat.
Let us hope that Obama has heard the cry, and it’s good to see that he has at least mentioned the gravity of the issues. Now, he must begin in a concerted way to heal Mother Earth because at this rate of decimation, Father Time is not on our side.
“It will be a colossal task, enlisting science, engineering, technology, regulation, legislation, and persuasion,” Remnick lamented in discussing the magnitude of this impending doom. “We have seen the storms, the droughts, the costs, and the chaos; we know what lies in store if we fail to take action. The effort should begin with a sustained Presidential address to the country, perhaps from the Capitol, on Inauguration Day. It was there that John Kennedy initiated a race to the moon—meager stakes compared with the health of the planet we inhabit.”
Unless the planet is protected and saved the other dilemmas we face are insignificant. What’s the use of dealing with mass incarceration, immigration, police brutality, reparations, and a sundry of other maladies if the planet is on life support? It has to be first things first, and the planet should be the priority before it’s too late.