Between hope and tearing your hair out

Posted August 17th, 2010 in Blog, Featured 1 Comment »

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

So Sen. Russ Feingold is in a supposedly tight race. I’m not able to take sides in elections in the context of this project, but I do think it important to educate on what candidates are saying.  Feingold believes we must act now to address climate change.  His opponent, Ron Johnson, is quite clear: climate science is ‘crazy’ and ‘lunacy,’ he ‘absolutely’ does ‘not believe in the science of man-caused climate change,’ and says global warming is caused by sunspots.

Really, this is what he says.  Read it for yourself.  These people scare me. Imagine if these are the people into whose hands we entrust the future of policy related to climate change and other ecological crises.

Temperature anomalies July 2010 - NOAA

I hardly know what to make of this because it is echoed by other politicians, like Sen. Inhofe. Do they actually believe this? Or are they doing something more diabolical – they know we are warming the planet but are ready to throw away the planet’s future in exchange for keeping in place as long as possible this fossil fueled, growth-based economy, the  one from which they and their family and friends have benefited so lavishly?

Isn’t there a moral content to this?

Meanwhile, the ice sheets and glaciers of Greenland are breaking apart and sea levels are rising, a massive unprecedented coral die-off is occurring off the coast of Indonesia thanks to water temps that are 7 degrees above normal, one-fifth of Pakistan is now affected by the greatest floods in historical memory or records, Russia has lost a quarter of its wheat crop from unprecedented heat, drought, and raging fires, heavy rains in China have caused mudslides that have buried villages and killed more than 1,200 people – and I could go on and on and on and…

This video (if it doesn’t appear, click here) reminds us once again that a calamity like the drought and flames in Russia is not a Russian calamity but a calamity for the whole world. We cannot contain within national borders the ecological wreckage caused by the ways in which we have impacted the atmosphere and biosphere. This is a HUMAN dilemma, a crisis for the whole blessed globe.

We could mention again the floods in Milwaukee after 7-10 inches of rain, the flooding of Ames IA after 11 inches of rain, the heat waves across the US this summer, the prolonged drought in the US Southwest considered by more and more scientists to be permanent climate change, etc.

Those sunspots; they’re making a mess of things. Or maybe THIS is making a mess of things; maybe THIS is the integrally related story to which we must, MUST, pay attention:

Coal Power Industry: Biggest US Expansion in Two Decades…

There is it. That’s it. Right there is the source of our problem. We are not even close, we are nowhere near yet, to making the shift that could begin to reduce significantly the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.  The fossil fuel industry has a stranglehold on this economy and way of life. It is betting that you would rather wreck the planet than turn down your a.c. or stop buying all those plasma screens and hi-tech gadgets.

So, the challenge is clear – we must prove them wrong.

The other option is to let them build these plants, become more and more dependent on coal, the dirtiest, most destructive source of energy, and then get all upset when weather disasters and ecological wreckage turn our world up-side-down.

Are we ready yet to say no to coal, to move away from fossil fuels, and to embrace the disruption to our way of life that this ‘no’ will entail? How we answer that question (and I would do it before the babies and children in our lives) will determine just how bad the ecological crisis is going to be as this century unfolds. Or, to put it another way, it will determine just how well we will move through the crisis to a new, healing, regenerating, hope-filled way of life before this decisive century comes to a close.


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One Response

  1. D.Bheemeswar

    I think they are all not that wrong, if we go by astro-logical, analysis any abrupt changes in the universal planetary systems do change the mind set of people on this earth and also other life.
    Because of the money making and to be in the power for that making the pollution more and more and finally attributing their failure to astro-logical phenomenon is quit common on this earth.
    If we make some self critical analysis, far their gains of economy, comforts and other egoistic nature,they have forgotten the other affects on the nature, which we are all facing.

    We can not make any sense into those peoples minds. Better forget and try for alternates.