7. Is That Your Final Answer?


   13 September 2020

  Scenario One: You’re in the middle of a burning house. The house contains all your possessions – all you worked your whole life for, and all you planned to use for the future. You have two choices of what to do, choices that have to be made, and have to be made immediately. One, you can stay in the house and lose all your earthly possession - and your life.  Two, you can quickly get out the door and lose all your earthly possessions – but save your life.

   Scenario Two: You’re about to vote for the next President and Congress of the United States. Your choice has to be made almost immediately. You can cast your lot with the current lawmakers, and almost certainly get no action to address the immediate – critical – issues confronting you, the nation, and the world. Your other alternative is to vote for a new Government that may not give you all you want, but has acknowledged that there are immediate – critical – issues, and will do all they can to address them.

    Both cases seem to be no-brainers to me. Maybe in the first instance, an individual might conclude that life without possessions won’t be life, at all, and would sit down and burn. I suspect that would be a very rare decision, because sheer adrenalin would probably take most of us out the door as quickly as we could go.

    The second scenario might not seem as clear-cut, because the decision to die or to live doesn’t look immediate. But, as they say, looks can be deceiving. The biggest challenge the human race has ever faced is not sometime in the future, but is right now. It’s called Climate Change. If you haven’t heard about it, or if you think it’s not happening, then you must  not be aware of the real significance. If you haven’t actually felt some of the effects first-hand, you’re one of a fortunate few. Almost every day, if not in the United States then somewhere else in the world, some unusual event takes place – the strongest hurricane or typhoon ever to hit land; the hottest temperature ever recorded on earth; the hottest year on record; the largest and most destructive wildfires; record rainfall; record drought; shrinking of glaciers worldwide on an unprecedented scale, and at a much greater rate than even the most pessimistic predictions; etc., etc. Already, portions of the earth are becoming uninhabitable as crops fail to grow, water supplies dry up, and islands are inundated by rising seas. Already, people are having to leave their traditional homelands, seeking places where they can still live. Already, people are dying from the effects of Climate Change.

    Fifty days ago, The Guardian newspaper printed a headline, “!00 days to save the earth.” Each day since then, they have repeated the headline, minus one day. Too dramatic, you think? Their rationale seems pretty sound to me.

   “The day after the (November Presidential) election. the US withdraws from the Paris climate accord... Five years ago nearly 200 countries committed to a collective global response to tackle the climate crisis. But when Donald Trump took office he announced that the US would leave the Paris agreement. On the one issue that demands a worldwide response to help safeguard the Earth for future generations, the US has chosen to walk away… The election will be a referendum on the future of democracy, racial justice, the supreme court and so much more. But hovering over all of these is whether the US will play its role in helping take collective responsibility for the future of the planet. The period since the Paris agreement was signed has seen the five hottest years on record. If carbon emissions continue substantial climate change is unavoidable. The most impacted communities will also be the most vulnerable. Instead of helping lead this discussion the White House prefers to roll back environmental protections to placate the fossil fuel industry.”

  There seems to be no chance that Donald Trump will change his mind about Climate Change, or reverse his plans to pull out of the Paris accord. Four more years of passive ignorance - and active support for fossil fuel use - would speed up the destructive processes already ongoing. This election is far more than a referendum on Presidential leadership. Almost certainly, it will decide the future of not just the United States, but of the world.



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