Most of us enjoy the fact that we are relatively self reliant. As much as possible, we like being in control of our life. We like knowing that, if we do the right things often enough, there is a greater likelihood that our life will be more enjoyable, more satisfying, more meaningful.
But there is one area where we are vulnerable, where what impacts our life is seemly beyond our control and where others pull the levers in order to further their own interests. I’m talking, of course, about the environment.
The environment — our air, water, soils, plant and animal life – comprises the key element that maintains our overall well-being and quality of life. How could it not? It’s what surrounds and supports us. It’s what ultimately nurtures us. We could do all the “right things” but, if our environment grows more toxic, those other things won’t matter. We will suffer substantially. And, taken to the full extent of its natural consequence, the human race could possibly perish as a result. Based on current scientific projections, the previous sentence is not an exaggeration.
The pretense regarding climate change is long over. There are few, if any, CEOs, credible politicians or scientists who still cling to the fairy tales that climate change is not happening and that much of it is not man-made. Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, the more than 70,000 people who died during the 2003 European heat wave, the irreversible loss of our polar ice caps, the estimated 150 to 200 species that go extinct every day(!) — these things are not coincidences. They are showing us the pattern of what is to come.
This issue is way beyond everyday politics. It has nothing to do with being progressive or conservative. This is truly a bi-partisan issue. If you are in the middle or upper-middle or even the upper socioeconomic class and think you are immune, think again. We are all in a sinking boat, together.
In truth, civilization never has seen anything like this before. Not on this global scale. Science as well as our own common sense tells us, if we continue on our current trajectory, our weather patterns will keep getting more erratic and intense. Polar ice will keep melting. Sea levels will keep rising (approximately seven-inches globally, so far). Environmental catastrophes and both social and economic chaos will likely ensue.
You think this is science fiction? You think this is way off in the future somewhere? Guess again. It’s already here. It’s already happening. Our current California drought and its effect on this recent rash of wildfires? That’s nothing compared to what could be coming. We have a long, hot, dry summer ahead. And that’s just California. There are a whole list of climate change-related issues in process, right now, in almost every part of the world.
Some individuals say it’s too late to reverse the damage we’ve already done via excessive carbon dioxide emissions released into our atmosphere. That there was a window of time during which we could have reversed this entire juggernaut. But we missed it. Others say perhaps not, maybe we still have a shot at this. One thing is certain: if we do nothing, or too little, too late, we will all pay an incredibly high price. Way too high.
What can we do, now? There’s actually a lot each of us can do on a regular basis like recycling, replacing energy-wasting light bulbs, appliances and cars, eating locally raised produce, etc. We can go online or read Al Gore’s book An Inconvenient Truth for more ideas. And, for an overview on where we are currently in regard to climate change, we can watch this informative, 20-minute interview with the noted host of The Nature of Things, David Suzuki: https://www.facebook.com/friends/requests/?fcref=ffi#!/.
But that’s not nearly enough.
On a larger scale, we absolutely need to invest our time and money in supporting local, state, federal and global environmental policies as well as organizations that are truly making a difference like Fossil Free and Our Children’s Trust. There are other organizations as well including journalist and presenter Bill Moyers’ recommended list of five (see http://billmoyers.com/2014/02/07/five-groups-leading-the-charge-to-halt-climate-change/).
But that’s not enough, either.
We especially need to hold our politicians accountable for stopping this madness. For starters, we can elect only those politicians who will work to get big money out of politics and put our environment first. Does that seem unrealistic or Quixotic to you? It’s not. There are already people in our governmental system who are working toward that goal. And they need our collective support, encouragement and funding. Please find out who they are in your district, county and state, as well as those representing you at the federal level.
In the short and long-term, our environment is what will determine the quality of life for ourselves, our children and our children’s children. A healthier environment is the most important legacy we can leave. In the most primary way, we all know that is the truth.
Please don’t sit back on this one. Do something today.