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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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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