Tuesday, May 06, 2014

On Deaf Ears

The Obama administration has decided to move the national dialogue forward, to try to take a pro-active position on climate change:

Washington (CNN) -- Flooded rail lines. Bigger, more frequent droughts. A rash of wildfires.

Those are some of the alarming predictions in a White House climate change report released Tuesday, part of President Barack Obama's broader second-term effort to help the nation prepare for the effects of higher temperatures, rising sea levels and more erratic weather.

"Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present," the National Climate Assessment says, adding that the evidence of man-made climate change "continues to strengthen" and that "impacts are increasing across the country."

We, of course, can anticipate absolutely no action will take place on this. When a significant number in even a dying political party do not believe in climate change – or worse, somehow conflate climate change with God’s will – nothing will happen.

Still, Obama is correct to make a go of it. After all, it’s a desperate enough situation that some kind of effort has to be made, even if it means hearing endless plaintive wails about the amount of money it’s going to cost us and the effect on a seedling economic recovery.

To do nothing is to drown that seedling.

Ten years ago, we might have hoped that our children’s children’s children would curse us and our inertia on what will be the most critical issue of the 21st century. That timetable has been moved up, alarmingly so. It will not be our great-grandchildren. It may not be our grandchildren. It may not even wait for our children, altho they will certainly suffer for our stupidity.

Our generation, us: we may be the victims of our own stupidity, greed, and fear.

I suppose there’s a poetic justice in this. All my life, I’ve tried to live by the credo that we only have one earth and it’s up to me to take care of the parts I live in. Even so, where possible, I’ve tried to expand that territory to shepherd what places I can. I’m not alone, but I’m far from a majority.

Nature is too complex a system for a minority to assist. Sadly, it’s also such a complex system that one person can destroy more than any given number can protect. A lit cigarette, a bottle of bleach down a storm drain, and yes, the proverbial butterfly wing flap, all can create entropy in place of consistency and predictability.

I keep asking my friends who don’t believe in global warming and the concurrent climate change what one event would change their minds? What would provide undeniable proof of the rightness of the science?

No one, not a single one of these friends, has ever provided an answer. This tells me that, deep in their hearts, they know the science is correct. And they’re scared, but not scared enough to let go of what they’ve been instructed to believe by people who are lining up to steal their money in the next disaster.

An event will happen, this much we can be sure of. By then it will be too late. It already is.