I can forgive politicans for most of the crap they inflict on us, because that's what I expect from them. Crap. But there's one malfeasance that's unforgivable:
Failing to protect the livability of our planet.
We can argue about the size and role of government, whether health care should be single payer or privatized, how the education system should operate, what the optimum level of taxation is -- all kinds of questions are open to avid discussion and debate.
Except how to preserve Earth in a fashion that will enable future generations to survive, prosper, and engage in their own efforts to decide the best way to live.
When it's obvious that we humans are failing to assure the viability of all-too-fragile ecosystems, political posturing needs to be put on hold, just as it should be on issues of national defense.
Here we're talking about global defense, an even more important battle. It baffles me when people speak about the need to balance economics and environmentalism. How the hell can a country, or the world, have a thriving economy without a viable environment?
Last night I watched more of a recorded episode of "Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking."
It was moving to see how the Earth formed from clouds of material ejected from exploding stars, gravity gradually bringing particles together into a planet as a giant conglomeration of stardust formed into the Sun.
More than once, huge meteors have crashed into the Earth. Three hundred million years ago, if I remember correctly, was when one such catastrophe caused the dinosaurs and countless other species to go extinct.
We live on a fragile planet. And a very special one.
Hawking described the unusual conditions that make it possible for life to arise and evolve on Earth. Not through a creator or a design -- simply because if those conditions weren't as they are, we wouldn't be here, able to marvel at how rare and precious our marvelously habitable planet is.
Also, for people like me, to marvel at how idiotic, brainless, self-centered, clueless, and uncaring some Homo sapiens are, those who shrug off the clear and present danger our one and only Earth faces from global climate change.
Those same science-bashing, reality-denying people undoubtedly have insurance on their houses, even though the risk of a fire, flood, or whatever that would destroy their habitation is much smaller than the risk of impending human-caused climate change disasters.
Yet they're not willing to buy insurance for the Earth, for reasons that range from the ridiculous to the patently absurd. Reducing carbon emissions by moving to renewable energy sources will be both economically productive and environmentally wise. So what's not to like?
Giving up short-term profits, scoring passing political points, and paying off campaign contributors. That's the best I can come up with. In short, bullshit piled on top of the usual political crap.
In the December 6 issue of Newsweek, science writer Sharon Begley talked about how climate scientists now are able to specify the "fractional risk attribution" of extreme weather events.
This shows "how many times an extreme event should have occurred absent human interference" and "the probability of the same extreme event in today's greenhouse-forced atmosphere."
The result: Bluntly put, we're fucking up the planet. Life took 4.5 billion years to arrive at us, and within a few centuries we're doing our best to extinguish it.
Begley ends with:
The word “interesting” covers a lot of sins, which is why it’s the perfect word for the world’s current response to climate change.
That response is no response, as shown by the low expectations for the international climate meeting this week in Cancún, by China’s voracious appetite for coal, and by the Senate’s failure to pass a climate bill.
It’s interesting that people refuse to make changes today to stave off disasters years hence. It’s interesting that memories—of killer storms and heat waves—are so short, with people apparently viewing them as one-offs rather than harbingers of what we’ll suffer regularly in a greenhouse world.
It’s interesting that we saw Muscovites and Pakistanis dying, and blithely thought, too bad, but hey, it isn’t me. All of which means that the climate we are creating will be … interesting.
To put it mildly. Very mildly.