The Backward March
Relative to: attitudes regarding climate change, inspired by a Kleenex Hand Towels commercial, which suggests replacing cloth hand-towels with disposable paper towels.
Ten years ago in this country, American citizens were concerned about climate change. Today, many still believe it is real, but it’s not too big a problem, many others just stopped believing in it. (There are many polls to show these changes). In the past, one could find ample evidence of the issues resonance across many divides in the country, including party lines. Several legislative figures in both parties have attempted to pass climate bills, including John Kerry, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, Lindsey Graham, hardly a list of crazy progressives. This broad based concern, determined not to allow things to get out of hand, is gone.
Two things have happened in the past four of five years regarding the world’s environmental crises.
1) Climate Change has continued to get worse, while the science has remain unchanged. Skepticism has grown because of incidents like “Climategate,” and other non-scientific evidence that climate science is rigged. But in reality these are not serious challenges to the science surrounding climate change, and indeed the evidence continues to mount that things are getting more severe more rapidly.
2) A lot of people stopped paying attention, stopped caring, or simply don’t want to put the effort into thinking about beginning to think about dealing with climate change. And by “a lot of people” I don’t mean the citizenry of the United States at large. Many in the US are passionate about our environmental crises; many are not. But we can’t change energy policy or legislate to stop polluters. What I mean by “a lot of people” are the large numbers of individuals who were, and in many cases still are, in national political or state Governors offices who have stated a commitment to combat climate change , and have since given that position up. Be it for genuine changes of heart or political expediency, these are folks who moved backwards.
It’s a long list of names. But while we as a nation are moving backwards, rapidly, in our willingness to take seriously this issue, the crises facing the earth continue to move forward.
There are quick answers, such as we can’t deal with this now because of the economic recession and the jobless figures. That doesn’t make sense. The economic potential of building a green economy offers great opportunity to help overcome the recession. Starting to derive an economy that is prepared to exist in the 21st century rather than hold longingly on to an economy that belongs in the past can only benefit the nation.
Another quick answer is that climate change just isn’t real. For that I don’t have an argument. I wish those folks the best of luck, but please, stay out of the way so those with the political will and an understanding of the issue can save the rest of us. Even the unbelievers.