On Tuesday night, as I was responding to comments on my post titled This Is Not A Game!!!, about climate change and the recently-released NCA climate change report, I came across one comment that provided so much food for thought that I knew I could not do it justice in a single, quick response. The commenter is our friend Maryplumbago, and she has covered almost every single topic that is relevant to our nation today.
I asked and received her permission to use her comment as a foundation for this post. Mary poses so many ideas and questions, that I’m afraid I stepped onto my soapbox and didn’t know when to step down, so this is Part I of … either two or three parts, depending on when you guys start throwing rotten tomatoes at me and yelling for me to step down! While I have not left out a single word of Mary’s, I have taken the liberty of rearranging the order of her points in order to be able to break this into more manageable parts. Mary’s original comments are in normal text, my responses in blue.
So many thoughts here …
I believe, as do reasonable people, that climate change is real and that we contribute to it and have been warned about it for many years now and it’s coming close to being too late.
The problem is reasonableness … most people are apathetic to it and care only for their own selfish lives and not beyond that. Others think it’s all a hoax and buy into trump’s idiocy and republican greed for profit at any cost.
I think that certainly greed and profit play a huge roll, but when you drill down to the level of the individual, resistance to change and convenience are the two driving factors. Try telling John Doe that he must trade in that big gas-guzzling SUV for a more environmentally friendly car with better fuel-economy. Try telling his wife that she must recycle her trash, segregating plastics from paper from metal from glass. Try telling them both that they should forgo their vacation to Florida this year, eat less meat, carpool to work, or turn down the thermostat and wear a sweater. They will not be happy, for it is an inconvenience, and one they don’t feel they deserve.
Then there are the fewer reasonable ones … but what can we do? I’m afraid the answer is nothing.
Well, we cannot sit back and accept that there is nothing we can do. I don’t pretend to know the solution, but a couple of things come to mind. First, people typically tend to wake up and change their attitude really quickly when they are personally and directly affected. I think that the more we publicize such catastrophic events such as the hurricanes of the past two seasons, and the devastating wildfires in California for several years now, but especially this year and last, it must make people stop and think, “what if that was me?” Education … repetition … keep hammering the message home. And, of course, it would be greatly helpful if our federal government would tell the truth for a change and stop pandering to the wealthy fossil fuel barons.
When you see lines blocks long for a lotto ticket, crowds pushing and shoving on Black Friday in a Walmart, a racist winning a political race, hatred for immigrants, hatred for the “other” and on and on … do you really think things can get better? That people will change even after trump is gone? And this stuff is spreading to other countries.
There’s the quandary, isn’t it? Trump is merely the manifestation of those things that have lain dormant, simmering just beneath the surface, apparently, while the majority of us had little or no idea. The greed, the rudeness to get that last toy on Black Friday … are, I believe, all signs of people who are not satisfied with what they have, but always seek ‘more’. The blame? To some extent, I think the blame falls largely on advertisers who, in their efforts to promote their products, create the illusion of “need”. This has always been the case, of course, but today it is magnified 1000-fold by the internet, by social media where viewers are bombarded by constant targeted ads. If, for example, you’re just pondering, say, a new washer & dryer, so you go visit a few sites just to see what’s out there and at what cost. The next day, you will be seeing ads for the latest and greatest in washing and drying machines on every website you visit, as well as your email box being filled with ads for the same. Pretty soon, you’re convinced that your happiness depends on that new washer & dryer – the one with all the bells & whistles. There is truly no such thing as ‘internet privacy’, and the advertisers have free reign to troll you and then target you in their marketing plan.
The hatred for immigrants is based on fear. I cannot explain that one well, other than to look back at the European settlers’ treatment of Native Americans centuries ago, and our treatment of African-Americans as slaves until 1865, both based on he fear of ‘other’. That fear continued until … well, apparently it has never ended. We thought we had made remarkable progress during the Civil Rights Era, and perhaps we had, but much of that progress has since been lost.
I used to think that yes, once Trump was gone we could set about un-doing the damage he had done and the ‘great divide’ would begin to heal. I no longer think that, although I firmly believe he is exacerbating an already tragic situation, instilling fear, supporting white supremacists and attempting to isolate us from our allies. That does not, however, mean that I don’t think things can improve — merely that I think it will take more than simply saying “bye-bye” to Mr. Trump. Ideally, we need a true leader to emerge and begin to heal the illness in this nation. We need another Martin Luther King, or John F. Kennedy, a person who is strong, intelligent, charismatic, and understands the divisiveness of today. A person who will work with people to allay fears rather than to create them.
To be continued … Meanwhile, feel free to join in the conversation!