How this site got started: I am one of those angry, frustrated and embarrassed individuals concerning our environment and what our species has done to it. I vented in a letter that I intended to publish until my daughter said it was too depressing. So, I started this web site instead. For those of you who are interested in depressing letters here it is.
February 15, 2019
I am a 72 year old man who realizes the earth is getting dangerously warm. I believe that humans are to blame and that the results will be catastrophic if not fatal to our species. I also believe in the self-destructive tendencies of the human race and that we will go to our apocalyptic graves with full knowledge of what is happening and why. We will simply refuse to do anything about it.
Don’t worry. The planet itself will be fine. All the creatures on it will die of course. If not from rising seas then surely from ingesting micro plastics. Over the eons new creatures will replace them unless we become Mars II. Even then the universe will look the same minus the unique beings who were conscious of its majesty.
In the last days of our Mad Max existence we will be fighting for the same thing we fight for today and covet above all else. Our own personal well-being.
Maybe its just a self-protective reflex, a remnant from our cave dwelling days, but our pocket book is more important than future of humankind. Are we willing to be a little poorer to save the planet? I don’t think so. I’m not going to any damn nursing home because I gave too much money away to fight global warming and you don’t want to fork out three bucks a gallon to power your obscene pickup truck. As long as we can take our vacations, send our kids to college, preserve our retirement savings and Medicare, the environment can perish.
You don’t agree? Let’s break it down.
There are seven and a half billion people on earth more than enough to insure that we can’t ever stop global warming. Half live in poverty where the struggle for daily survival trumps social action. I’ll cut them slack since they have no pocket book and will be the first to perish.
Then some millions are waiting for the miracle of science that will scoop the nasty CO2 from the air and turn it into clean energy for all. Conversely the conspiracy theorists believe scientists are lying profit-mongers. How about those who say we are doomed anyway so party-hardy while you can, and what about the minions who couldn’t care less: “What’s global warming got to do with the impact of concussions on football?” Don’t forget the legions who simply say God will have his way, good or bad, so the only action required is to get out that bible and pray for your immortal soul. In all of these cases their culpable ignorance is a mortal sin but conveniently preserves their 401Ks.
Finally, there are the leaders and decision-makers who have found more to gain by cooking Mother Earth than curing her. Like the poor, I don’t blame them either. They are a weak reflection of those who put them in power and that would be us.
Have I missed anybody? Oh yes, the chosen ones. Those of us who preach the gospel of renewables and sustainability. In truth we are the worst. Don’t give me any crap. You’re a hypocrite just like me. We are Pharisees that pontificate our indignation but in the end we are just ‘finger-pointers’ with our other hand on our back pocket. We read all the articles, separate the cardboard from the garbage and refuse a straw at Subway. Some of us even bought a hybrid.
In the meantime have we stopped flying and having kids? Have we moved to a smaller home or stopped eating meat five times a week? Have we reinvested our savings in renewables? Have you followed a politician into an elevator and lectured him for 34 floors? Have you demonstrated for costly regulations that impede the advance of doom? Have you demanded a raise in taxes to fund fund wind and solar? Have we done any of those things that really matter? No, so let’s shut up. At least we can stop being hypocrites and ‘roast’ ourselves in peace and quiet.
I ache for my seven grandchildren especially two-year-old Alder. When his generation struggles to understand why we didn’t do anything I’m glad I won’t be there to stand trial. After all, I am to blame for the future he will suffer.
Given our primal instincts there are only two answers. Stemming and reversing climate change must be driven by primal motivations; greed and fear. It must put money in my pocket and enhance the wealth and power of the wealthy and powerful. If that should start to happen I’m all over it and so are you. If you want to give me $2000 a year by slapping fossil fuel companies with a carbon fee, go for it, but also make it worthwhile for these massive conglomerates to steer their inexhaustible resources to alternate energies.
The other motivator, fear, is driven by catastrophe in all its glory. When most of us experience the economic ruin from the devastation of rising waters, monster storms, raging fires and debilitating drought we will demand change. We will threaten to tear the power from the hands of our current leaders and give it to others who will fix it. Only when climate becomes a top issue in the minds of the voter can we expect change. The populace is slowly moving in that direction... too slowly.
So then, what could the right leaders do? They can empower science, regulate industry and marshal resources. They can inspire action and unity by setting national goals. In the end we could save the planet not because we each did what was necessary but because we forced others to do it for us.
Human nature is not an ally in this struggle. After all, what difference will it make for one person to stop buying Keurig coffee cups and start eating lab grown meats? What does one vote matter? The seven and a half billion of us must be forced to comply.
As for me, I’m enlightened and still have some time left. Maybe I will finally take meaningful action to save Alder and my soul....
But don’t bet on it.