Please read this post, I think I’ve finally hit on something – Admin.
Morality, philosophers and priests tell us, is concerned with the consequences of individual and collective action. It asks us to consider not only the effects our actions have on those around us, but on those who are distant and do not have voices of their own. Future generations and even today’s children are rightly included in the category of people without real standing when it comes to political affairs. It is up to us to protect their rights and interests, just as our fathers and grandfathers stood up for our right to live in a free society by joining the fight against Nazism in World War II, and the tide of communism in Korea and Vietnam.
The right of future generations to live in a free and prosperous society is in peril today, just as it was then. The only difference is many in this country refuse to acknowledge the threat. Contrary to the opinions of some, it is undeniable that failing to address the threat of climate pollution will have profoundly negative consequences for our children and grandchildren. Those consequences will be measured in terms of increasingly deadly and costly natural disasters, more frequent military conflict, and less reliable sources of food and water. In other words, if we choose not to act, and other nations fail to act as well, we will all but ensure lower standards of living and greater human suffering for future generations.
This is the definition of an immoral choice.It follows that policies that intentionally ignore climate change and the rights of future generations to a livable planet are immoral. But those are exactly the policies it appears President-elect Trump will adopt when he takes office, as evidenced by his choices to head the Environmental Protection Agency and the Energy and Interior Departments. The men Trump plans to appoint to these cabinet positions have not simply expressed disagreement over how these federal agencies have operated in the past. They have staunchly opposed or even shown outright hostility to them. Case in point, Trump’s pick for secretary of energy, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, ran for president on the promise that he would abolish the Energy Department. These nominations do not bode well for combating the climate threat, as the agencies these men will run are the very agencies with the power — and in the case of the EPA, the obligation — to address the disastrous effects of carbon pollution.
The president-elect’s choice for secretary of state is no less disconcerting. As CEO of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson lobbied against sanctions imposed on Russia in 2014 because the sanctions halted his company’s off-shore drilling operations in the Kara Sea. It is naïve to think that Tillerson will not have Exxon in mind when he considers such issues as secretary of state. But what is good for Exxon is not necessarily good for the United States, a country which has historically used sanctions to punish violators of international law. The decision to use such an effective international relations tool should not be swayed by the impact it might have on a private corporations like Exxon. Permitting Tillerson to use the office of secretary of state to advance the interests of the fossil-fuel industry puts our chances of reducing carbon emissions in further jeopardy. It is yet further evidence the president-elect does not take seriously the need to counter the threat that climate change poses to our nation’s future.
Coloradans should imagine what their lives would be like if our fathers and neighbors had turned a blind eye to the threats we faced during World War II and the Cold War. Imagine if our parents had chosen cowardice rather than courage in the face of tough odds. I ask you to imagine what the world will be like for our children and grandchildren if we, unlike those who came before us, fail to act in the face of another great threat. As you spend time with your children and grandchildren this holiday season, take time to consider whether Trump’s environmental and energy policies will protect their futures, or imperil them. Let morality be your guide.
Rudy E. Verner is a lawyer and climate change activist who lives in Boulder.
He said what needs to be said – but it is of course, not saying or going far enough. Any incoming Administration would have betrayed us all, because the basic paradigm of how humans exist on this planet is not going to be addressed. Our demand for energy, food, water, space, materials, technology and resources commits us all to the very future unfolding before us right now. The deception Verner fails to acknowledge is how any President can or would have changed any of this. The deeper deception is how even changing our stance on climate change would accomplish anything in the end.
That is what is not in the public narrative or perception. The knowledge and awareness that unless we address the root causes of our harm to the biosphere and its ability to provide for our survival, found within our civilization itself, we will continue to take the wrong path and hold the wrong values while deceiving ourselves about our effectiveness. We’re scratching at the surface while ignoring all the far deeper wounds we’re inflicting.
I do not have these illusions myself. “Policies” will not solve the climate crisis. This is a ridiculous notion that is embedded in all current discussions about climate change. The assumption being, “the right policies will resolved this issue” (for all of us, apparently), but this is factually false. It can never be true because our civilization remains on the same trajectory as always – growth, consumption, emissions, technology, in a never-ending cycle of planetary destruction.
Those topics are untouchable in today’s entrancement of civilization. They don’t get discussed or addressed, so any polices that do or that may come about and take effect, will have virtually no lasting restoration or preservation and do nothing to address root causes. It’s just a matter of time under these illusions we endorse that we will consume, destroy and pollute whatever is still left. We are finding it impossible to restrain ourselves as our history shows. But now we must, but refuse to even discuss it.
But of course, Verner is simply concerned about Trump and rightly so. But it is not enough. Not even close. He’s quite correct about the immorality of what is happening, but he does not go far enough here either. It is proving to also be impossible (to date) to stop the indifference, especially within the American population. I spend (recently, that is) a lot of time reading through “denier” articles, which will drive a thinking person insane. But it reveals a deep hatred within many Americans for their own planet. It is a type of xenophobia writ large across their tiny minds of extreme selfishness and arrogance.
We’re not reaching these people. But we’ve permitted them too loud a voice. What they are doing is immoral. Their screeching rhetoric is so bad now that something must be done. They are, in effect, telling all the people in a burning theater that there is no fire. Nothing to be alarmed about, while the building is coming down on top of them. This is more then a crime of ignorance, it is a crime against humanity to continue to tolerate their lies and dishonesty.
Something must be done. It is not Free Speech to spread dangerous lies that will harm other people – in this case, the whole of humanity, present and future, even the whole of the entire living biosphere. Therefore, their deceptions and lies should no longer be allowed in the public space, newspapers, news sites, television, magazines and all forms of public broadcast. While I support healthy informed public and private debate, this is not what is occurring. It is neither informed nor healthy and is doing great irreversible harm to us all, even them, but they’re too obtuse to even realize this fact. You don’t allow people to spread dangerous ideologies and give them a free pass, which is what they have today and it needs to stop, quickly so that the world can address the real issue, which is in fact, dangerous heating and the cause and effects that are imperiling planetary survival.
But of course, this too is a pipe-dream. It won’t happen. It’s also a dangerous path. The alternative then is much better – mandatory global education on climate change. This would also allow for public debate and discourse to occur in an educational setting where anyone can be free to disagree and provide their evidence.
In developed countries, mandatory education is required by law. The difference here is this education would not target only the young, but all citizens, young and old (there would need to be limits on this of course).
The curriculum would need to be developed presenting both sides of the issue to encourage debate and critical thinking. The difference here, unlike the public space “debate” occurring now, is it would not be one-sided, or dominated by a particular industry or group of people, nor would it be voluntary. You have to take the course, it would be mandatory.
There would be no “graduation”, no diploma, nothing more would be needed other then certification of taking the course. I’d like to see higher education (additional topics) also offered and made freely available too. It would be possible to even take the course online – but with required participation and interaction from each “student” (not a simple multiple-choice quiz). The idea being, every citizen needs to be fully and fairly informed.
What would this accomplish? Similar to educational mandates and efforts undertaken in the past, it would raise awareness, involvement and ultimately support for climate initiatives. We expect students to have a basic education now (I think the 8th grade in America is required by law) and this would be no different. A basic education on the causes, effects, issues, problems and knowledge on climate change.
Why would we do this? Because it is a issue of global importance. Our very existence is at stake. We may yet ‘discover’ bright minds that would make large strides towards mitigation and adaption strategies. We may also develop a citizens initiative on a national or even global scale to participate, versus prevent climate action. We may even help establish a baseline for future and present industry and political leaders and how they may influence the human future and our survival on this planet.
It is clear that the ‘agenda’ is to prove and demonstrate climate change – this is obvious, but it is also critically necessary and no different then what education does right now – schooling in the facts of the real world. The world cannot continue to tolerate ignorance, denial, stubbornness and yes, complete stupidity about such an important topic. Not when our very survival and that of the entire biosphere is at stake.
We are all ‘citizens of the world’, components of the human race, and we each have responsibilities and obligation as part of that. But we also have a deeper responsibility that extends beyond our own species, and that is to a habitable future for all living things, which we ourselves, cannot live without their survival. Expecting all humans to be schooled in these basic concepts is reasonable, ethical and essential. And seriously, seriously overdue.
If we do not take drastic action, then we’re just in denial ourselves and will have failed to even try to rise up to the challenge that faces us all.