Some Like it Hot

President Trump and the Republican Party don’t seem to mind the heat.

Unfortunately, both parties do it. On specific issues facing the country, one party is extreme with their solutions and the other party counters, not with better, less extreme ideas, but with mocking attacks of the opponent’s proposed solutions. In the end, what we are left with are two clueless political parties and zero good solutions.

That is exactly how the climate crisis debate is playing out right now. On one side, there are wacky legislators and presidential candidates who are trying to outdo one another for the most extreme unrealistic idea award, and the other side that laughs about their opponent’s proposed solutions and then goes blank-stare silent when asked for their own ideas to solve climate change.

Meanwhile back in the real world, we have new hot zones spreading around the globe. Recent in-depth reporting by The Washington Post lays out disturbing details of portions of the earth’s oceans (hot zones) that are reaching the point of no return in temperature increases leading to die-offs of ocean life.

One of the areas spans over 130,000 square miles of the southern Atlantic Ocean that have heated up at more than 2 degrees Celsius over the last century. This increase is more than twice the global average and the temperature increases are even worse at the “hot zone’s” core.

As the waters warm, currents shift, die-offs increase, algal blooms increase and spread, and the bounty of the sea that provides critical sustenance dwindles. These changes will create massive shifts in environmental and economic conditions and are no laughing matter.

Similar hot zones are also being identified in other waters including in the North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Indian oceans. Scientists believe that these increases, in some cases, may have already crossed a threshold that will lead to irreversible consequences. Whether scientists are right or wrong, exactly, is not the point. The point is that the changes are being noticed by non-academics who live near and depend on these waters.

We don’t have to be a scientist to see with our own eyes that something is fundamentally changing to our planet, and what we can readily observe is not good. This is not a partisan issue, but, like a lot of other non-partisan issues, our leaders make them partisan to the extreme, and nothing gets done, ever!

The Democrats want to scare people into thinking that we will all die unless we create a socialist “utopia” as dictated by the Federal Government, and the Republicans want to scare us into thinking that the Democrats are all crazy and are the enemy. President Trump wants more of that “good old global warming” anytime there is cold weather and to argue about weather maps with the National Weather Service.

I suppose some really do like it hot. Meanwhile, humanity quietly drifts a little further each day towards possible oblivion while we continue to enable both political parties to “fiddle” while the Earth burns, literally.

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Burger King of the Jungle

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of our planet when the rain forest that provides so much of the earth’s oxygen and carbon reduction is now being torn down to become home of the Whopper.

The symbolism of a planet in peril is staggering, not to mention the reality of it all. The Amazon Rain Forest is now home to the Whopper, thanks to the enormous Belo Monte Damn project, that scientists warn is putting the future of the rain forest in peril.

But hey, that’s progress, as Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated at a recent visit to the region. In addition to Burger King, there’s a Costco and a large shopping mall with a movie megaplex. It is a classic pave over paradise to put up a parking lot moment. On the other hand, many Brazilians do see the development as progress because it provides jobs and leisure.

Americans provided an ominous blueprint for the world, gutting the country of its vast forests and building a whole mess of parking lots along the way. Politicians and the general public alike all want “progress,” but what is that exactly? It probably means various things to various people but the dictionary states that progress is “forward or onward movement toward a destination.” So, what exactly is our destination? One where we live a better life on a healing planet, or one awaiting our extinction on a dying planet?

It is very hard to push for global change when countries are culturally different, at different stages of development, and hold differing outlooks regarding their natural resources. Then there is science, full of dire warnings that always seem to be changing. Read any article on climate change and you can find at least one quote from scientists along the lines of “worse than previously thought.” But it was the same scientists who had made the previous predictions, so are they right now, then, or not correct at all?

I am not discounting science, but I don’t need complex research to tell me that destroying the Amazon Rain Forest to make way for shopping malls and fast food restaurants is not healthy for the planet, or those eating at the fast food restaurants for that matter. We are at a point in human existence where decisions made in certain countries could radically alter the chances for human survival. Do we form, as Albert Einstein advocated long ago, a world government? The prospects of that seem impossible.

People instinctually rebel against top down solutions, so maybe we need to continue to plant the seeds and cultivate grass roots efforts across the planet and get all the separate organizations, such as the Environmental Defense Fund and Greenpeace, to put forth coordinated efforts. Maybe call it the Earth Health Organization. We need to start conversations with our friends and neighbors in a manner that avoids discounting other’s beliefs.

Mark Twain once said, “Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Well it’s high time we do something about it. Climate change that is.

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So, What Time Does the Cavalry Arrive?

It should come as no surprise that America is skeptical and slow to act on climate change. It seems to be in our DNA.

Those advocating immediate and swift climate change action within the United States are dismayed, to say the least, at the lack of action to save Mother Earth. Many are angry at the lack of belief in science they say is causing this inaction. But is it something deeper than that? It seems that we have a tradition of waiting until the last minute to take needed action on anything important.

When our country was formed, the founders failed to tackle the tragic and inhuman issue of slavery. Some hundred years later a major war amongst ourselves started the beginning of the end of slavery, killing well over a half million people, and we are still struggling with the consequences.

In the settling of the American West, the mythology that grew into the classic western folklore was the cavalry, only arriving at the last minute, to save the day.

Fast forward to World War 1. We didn’t want to get involved in a “European war” and it wasn’t until almost three years in that we finally got off the fence, so to speak, and dove into the trenches.

Many foresaw the coming of the economic crisis that became the Great Depression, but little or no preventative actions were taken, and even when the crash began, the Feds failed to act accordingly with steps that may have limited the severity and shortened the duration of so much suffering.

During the 1930s, as fascism spread and threatened to darken freedom’s torch throughout the world, the United States stood largely on the sidelines, as if somehow things would get better on their own. Only a day of infamy in December 1941, put an end to our inaction. Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto has often been quoted in referring to the successful attack on Pearl Harbor, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Some historians are skeptical it was his quote, but you get the pattern. We Americans often seem to be asleep at the wheel (not a reference to the band).

It doesn’t end there or get any better. We didn’t realize that not all communist countries were part of the “evil empire” until we were well into the quagmire of Vietnam. It took Three Mile island to realize that nuclear power could be dangerous. We are still addicted to fossil fuels, even after the oil crises of the seventies (which is when I started advocating for developing alternative energy), and most recently, it took a comedian to shame Congress for the procrastination in taking care of the 9/11 first responders.

So yeah, we Americans have a consistent track record of being slow to react or act when it comes to some pretty important issues that face us. Regarding climate change, I hope it doesn’t take another Pearl Harbor type situation to wake up the sleeping giant. By then, it may not matter whether or when the cavalry shows up.

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Ten Bears

We were the Green True Deal
You were the blight upon the earth
Ever marching with a vicious zeal
We knew the running water’s worth

We roamed as the harmonious earth turned
At one with the Eagle and Buffalo
You brought thunder as villages burned
And a trail of tears watched the land go

We spoke of peace among the tribes
With eloquence and wisdom’s tongue
You split the tongue with lies of scribes
The ink flowing from your fingers stung

We desired no blood to stain the ground so pure
But purity never once landed upon the shore
We know not what will bring your final cure
But, the songs of Ten Bears are no more

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