Going Once, Going Twice …

Arguably the single most important issue facing the world today is climate change.  In the throes of the current pandemic, and amidst the undeniably craziest election the U.S. has ever seen, we in this country seem to have largely forgotten about the damage that we humans have done to this planet over the past 100 years or so.  The wildfires on the West Coast and the onslaught of hurricanes in recent years should have been a wake-up call, but … we are still focusing on other things, while the world burns.  We are nearing the point of no return in our wanton disregard for the environment, yet few seem to care.  Robert Reich speaks wise words …


Trump doesn’t care if wildfires destroy the west – it didn’t vote for him

Robert Reich-4Robert Reich

The climate crisis is upon us all but the president pursues more rollbacks. This election offers an existential choice

The air outside my window is yellow today. It was orange yesterday. The Air Quality Index is over 200. The Environmental Protection Agency defines this as a “health alert” in which “everyone may experience more serious health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours.” Unfortunately, the index has been over 200 for several days.

The west is burning. Wildfires in California, Oregon, and Washington are incinerating homes, killing scores of people, sickening many others, causing hundreds of thousands to evacuate, burning entire towns to the ground, consuming millions of acres, and blanketing the western third of the United States with thick, acrid, and dangerous smoke.

Yet the president has said and done almost nothing. A month ago, Trump wanted to protect lives in Oregon and California from “rioters and looters.” He sent federal forces into the streets of Portland and threatened to send them to Oakland and Los Angeles.

Today, Portland is in danger of being burned, and Oakland and Los Angeles are under health alerts. Trump will visit California on Monday, but he has said little.

One reason: these states voted against him in 2016 and he still bears a grudge.

He came close to rejecting California’s request for emergency funding.

“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” said former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor.

Another explanation for Trump’s silence is that the wildfires are tied to human-caused climate change, which Trump has done everything humanly possible to worsen.

Extreme weather disasters are rampaging across America. On Wednesday, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration released its latest State of the Climate report, finding that just in August, the US was hit by four billion-dollar calamities. In addition to wildfires, there were two enormous hurricanes and an extraordinary Midwest derecho.

These are inconvenient facts for a president who has spent much of his presidency dismantling every major climate and environmental policy he can lay his hands on.

Starting with his unilateral decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement, Trump has been the most anti-environmental president in history.

He has called climate change a “hoax.” He has claimed, with no evidence, that windmills cause cancer. He has weakened Obama-era limits on planet-warming carbon dioxide from power plants and from cars and trucks. He has rolled back rules governing clean air, water and toxic chemicals. He has opened more public land to oil and gas drilling.

He has targeted California in particular, revoking the state’s authority to set tougher car emission standards than those required by the federal government.

In all, the Trump administration has reversed, repealed, or otherwise rolled back nearly 70 environmental rules and regulations. More than 30 rollbacks are still in progress.

Now, seven weeks before election day, with much of the nation either aflame or suffering other consequences of climate change, Trump unabashedly defends his record and attacks Joe Biden.

“The core of [Biden’s] economic agenda is a hard-left crusade against American energy,” Trump harrumphed in a Rose Garden speech last month.

Not quite. While Biden has made tackling climate change a centerpiece of his campaign, proposing to invest $2 trillion in a massive green jobs program to build renewable energy infrastructure, his ideas are not exactly radical. The money would be used for improving energy efficiency, constructing 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and increasing renewable energy from wind, solar, and other technologies.

Biden wants to end the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity by 2035, and to bring America to net zero emissions of greenhouse gases by no later than 2050. If what is now occurring in the west is any indication, his goals may be too modest. 2050 will be too late.

Nonetheless, Americans have a clear choice. In a few weeks, when they decide whether Trump deserves another four years, climate change will be on the ballot.

The choice shouldn’t be hard to make. Like the coronavirus, the dire consequences of climate change – coupled with Trump’s utter malfeasance – offer unambiguous proof that he couldn’t care less about the public good.

Open Letter To Congress …

Dear Congressperson …

Yesterday was a day that will live on in history.  In more than 150 nations, over 4 million people (and counting) turned out in thousands of cities and towns around the globe to raise awareness and to demand action from governments.  Their words, “You had a future and so should we”, and “We vote next”, should have opened your eyes, but somehow, I sense that you are wearing blinders and did not see their banners, and have ears stuffed with cotton and did not hear their chants.

My purpose in writing this letter is to put you on notice that you are marching to the beat of the wrong drummer.  You are putting your own interests, and those of such large corporations as the fossil fuel, logging, and auto industries ahead of the well-being of not only your constituents, but all life on the planet.  Those aforementioned industries, as well as the gun lobby, may put money into your re-election campaigns, but they are not the ones who pay your salary, and they are not the majority whose votes will determine your future on November 3rd, 2020.

Make no mistake … there is a genuine climate emergency happening right under your very nose.  You know it’s true … all you have to do is listen to the scientists who, frankly, are much better educated in the subject than you.  All you have to do is check the weather for the past nine months to see that 2019 has been the hottest year on record.  Ever.  You have no excuse for saying that climate change isn’t real, that it isn’t caused by human activities.  All you have to do is read how many bees and birds have been lost in the past decade.  How many species are either extinct or bordering on extinction.

Rather than act to preserve life on earth, you sit back on your thumbs and allow a madman in the Oval Office to repeal environmental regulations that were never enough but were at least a start.  You allow him to make our air much dirtier, our water less safe, and our entire world a much uglier place.  And all for what?  How much benefit do you think you’ll get from those few hundred thousand dollars that are being added to your coffers when your children cannot even go outside to play because the air is not breathable?

Of the 192 nations on the globe, 190 are actively trying to change the way they do things in order to fix what the industrialized nations have broken – our environment.  All except the United States and Brazil are at least making an effort.  How does that make you feel?  Do you feel proud?  Believe me when I say that the majority of people in this nation look at you and see a person who has sold us downriver to line his own pockets.

Now, let me give you something to ponder on as you lie in bed tonight trying to sleep.  If every other nation is putting their efforts into replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources in order to save lives, and we are not, how long do you think it will be before they collectively take action against the U.S.?  Think about it this way … you live in a neighborhood where everyone takes good care of their property … lawns are neatly manicured, sidewalks are swept, no trash or litter is lying around.  But, there is one family who just doesn’t take care at all of their property.  There is trash all over their yard, and every time the wind blows, their trash is blown into your yard and every other.  How long before you and your neighbors take action against this one family?  Not long, I’m betting.

Whether you like it or not, we live in an age of globalization. Every nation is in some form or fashion dependent on the others.  Technology has made it so, and there is no turning back.  There are at least a few nations that have the ability, should they choose to use it, to shut down the U.S. power grid today … tomorrow … or the next day.  I hear you saying that we have the technology to stop such an attack, but do we really?  Congressman … we couldn’t stop Russia from hacking the 2016 election, so how great do you really think our security systems are?  I’m guessing not all that great.

The U.S. Constitution provided a system of ‘checks and balances’ with the intention of keeping any one branch of government from gaining so much power that they would pose a danger to the democratic principles of this nation.  Those checks and balances, however, only work when everybody does their job, when Congress actively provides oversight of the executive branch, the president.  YOU ARE NOT DOING YOUR JOB!!!  You are taking a salary that millions of people work their asses off every day to provide you, and in return you are giving us nothing!

Protecting and repairing the environment is the single most important issue facing this nation and the world today, and you are playing Russian Roulette with it, with our lives.  Frankly, your ridiculous crypto currency, your pet projects, even the economy … none of them matter one whit if we don’t address the climate crisis and NOW.  Not next year, or a decade from now … TODAY!

As a citizen and taxpayer, I am determined to do everything in my power, little though that may be, to make the public aware of just how little you are doing, how little regard you have for our lives, in hopes that you will be replaced with someone who actually cares more for life than profit next year.  I find much of this entire Congress to be a sorry lot indeed, especially those of you in the pockets of the fossil fuel industry and the NRA.  You allow the person whose fat arse is sitting in the Oval Office to bully you, and you cower under his wrath.  At what cost?  The cost of all life on earth.

Be afraid, Congressman … be very afraid, for those of us who care more about life than profit are the majority and we are energized, we are sick and damn tired of paying you to further your own interests instead of looking after ours.

Dying For The Fiction – a poem by Paul Vincent Cannon

The single most important thing that should be on everyone’s mind today is the environment, for if we don’t take steps to stop the bleeding, none of the other issues will matter before long. Blogger-friend Paul lives in Western Australia and he writes poetry. Most times, I can even understand his poems, which is saying something, for I am often find it difficult to understand the subtle, hidden messages in most poetry. Last night, I visited Paul’s blog, as I try to do a few times a week, and was stunned by his poem of the day. Please take a minute to read it … it’s short but says an awful lot in a few words. Thank you, Paul, for your generous permission to re-blog “Dying for the Fiction”.

parallax

dVerse Poets – Poetics – Climate Crisis

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Cartoon found at sites.duke.edu

“The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.”  Rachel Carson

Dying For The Fiction

They filled in the wetlands and gave me a house
of dreams filled with death,
and we cut down the trees that gave us life
that we might see the views of the city lights,
in a panic we scorched everything in the
belief that we must perpetuate production,
the very poison that kills all,
while giving happiness in spades of plastic that
smothers reality and makes us long for more
fictions that soothe and inspire
how self murder is so healthy for us,
I awoke this morning to find
my limbs removed,
my lungs cut down
and plastic in my gut,
I am Eco,
I…

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