'Pollution, pollution! Wear a gas mask and a veil. Then you can breathe, Long as you don't inhale!' (Tom Lehrer's 1967 song Pollution)
First, the very reality of Climate Change was disputed. Now, most recognize a Climate Crisis, while many have already experienced a Climate Catastrophe. Has our planet's 6th mass extinction already begun?
While countries around the world deal with raging wildfires, surging floods, and winds that make Dorothy's Wizard of Oz tornado seem tame, politicians play mind games with voters by denying the science (read Liar, Liar ...), or dubbing environmental action to put a price on pollution simply a new form of taxation, a carbon tax.
Our 60s youth marched against the Vietnam war and for ordinary folk in Third World countries most affected by it. Bob Dylan sang back then, 'The times they are a-changin' ...' Today's youth march against the war waged against Mother Earth and for ordinary folk in Third World countries most affected by it. The times are again a-changin' - an environmental war is upon us.
I just listened to an audiobook, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, read by its author, Jonathan Safran Foer. He searches his own soul and urges us to do the same, taking issue with those who accept the reality of human-caused climate damage, but do little about it. He makes analogies with the challenges faced in mobilizing the U.S. population to make sacrifices during World War II, for something happening 'over there'.
Foer explores how to move past 'climate apathy' and emphasizes our responsibility to make changes in our daily lives. He argues that we cannot save the planet unless we significantly reduce our consumption of animal products. Foer encourages simply cutting them out for breakfast and lunch - not a big sacrifice at all. 'We must let some eating habits go, or let the planet go', a simple way to start.
Five years ago, I read The Cusanus Game a brilliant dystopian by German SF grand master Wolfgang Jeschke, in which a nuclear disaster triggers global warming and species extinction. It's 2052 and humanity struggles with coastline flooding, burning forests, expanding deserts, more and more climate refugees moving towards and through Europe. Sound familiar? In Jeschke's fictional account, 'continued existence of life on earth' depends on time travel. Unfortunately we don't have that option.
Let's turn back from the brink. Young people are on the move. Listen to them; keep up with the science; change daily habits; make sacrifices; and VOTE for leaders who recognize the reality and are ready to take action!!Some Environmental Reading: