Monday, February 22, 2010

Our Ignored Crisis

It has been two years since I posted to this site. I was too burned out by my political focus. I'm back now to write more generally and less rigorously and more likely on environmental issues than political ones. I hope readers will enjoy the journals of my excursions into the outdoors.

Today's edition is a copy of a submission that should soon run as a "Voices" column in our local newspaper, The Springfield News-Leader.
Our Ignored Crisis

While most of the rest of the world is poised to address a world-wide ecological crisis, we argue over whether or not Al Gore was blowing smoke. Tick talk.

Even ignoring climate change, evidence of planet-wide degradation is devastatingly clear, and if humankind doesn’t recognize and adjust, we soon will have poisoned our nest beyond the point of no return. Sadly, our nation is a primary polluting culprit as well as the biggest obstacle to correcting the problem. Tick talk.

The issue is STEWARDSHIP. We are now fishing out the last of the breeding stock of the cod, sole and haddock. Salmon have dwindled so that they may never recover. Rockfish and blue crabs once plentiful are almost gone from Chesapeake Bay. Coral reefs are becoming a thing of the past. The Marshall Islands and others like them are being submerged world-wide. Fresh water river sediment is loaded with heavy metals; the water with chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Streams and lakes everywhere carry warnings about the danger of eating the fish. Missouri’s mussels are disappearing, and our air is polluted, but politicians say all’s well – the stock market’s up. Tick talk.

Humankind’s record as stewards of the earth is abominable, and it doesn’t take a tree-hugger to recognize it - just common sense. The Bible recognizes man’s dominion over the earth, but fails to instill a sense of stewardship, and the world’s political and economic structures prevent humanity from fulfilling that responsibility. Tick talk.

The well-being of our corporations far outranks the well-being of the planet or its people, and most citizens seem to believe that nothing that will increase our cost of living is acceptable. Tick talk.

The cost of energy produced by any means other than coal or nuclear power is too high to consider changing sources or behaviors. Clean coal and safe nuclear power don't exist, but we aren’t about to do anything that would make our electricity rates rise, so we invent fables that allow us to keep them and ignore facts that will sooner or later become incredibly invasive realities. Tick talk.

Each American burns four to six times the carbon resources of the average citizen of any other industrialized nation. We do it with our cars, air conditioners, fireplaces, clothes dryers, night lighting and attitudes. We need to see that the clock ticks while we talk. We are citizens not just of America but of the world. Weapons and armies eat up our wealth in ways that neither we nor the rest of the world can afford. Nation states and their interests have gone the way of city states and dinosaurs. If we don’t realize that soon we may very well go the way of the dinosaurs ourselves. The environmental clock tick tocks while we tick talk.