In all the hype about the election, laced with pseudo-entertainment from the latest “What did Trump do this time?” many of the real issues are getting lost. Climate Change is one of those issues. While given a brief mention by the Democrats and rampant denial by many Republicans, it is inarguably the most important issue of our time.
If the impending climate crisis is not mitigated, the quality of life to which we have become accustomed will not be available for anyone. Not the rich, certainly not the poor, who will be even more affected, not one nation over another, and not the animals, the plants, or the forests. It is a global crisis of epic proportions, unlike anything humanity has ever faced before.
Recently I read a horrifying article about a father who left his toddler daughter in a parked car on a hot day with the windows up. When he found her four hours later, still alive but dangerously overcooked, he put her in a swimming pool to cool her down, alas too late to save her precious life.
While this is the story of an idiotic and needless death, it struck me that it’s but a microcosm of what we are doing with humanity in general, in our failure to address climate change. If we wait until we need life support to take action, it will be too late.
While I don’t generally like war metaphors (war on drugs, war on poverty, and the oxymoron of war on terrorism) this must-read article by Bill McKibben, noted climate crisis activist, makes the point that climate change is actually making war on all of us at a level that can make ISIS look tame.
Climate change is taking over territory, killing humans and other species, ravaging farmland, destroying property, and spreading epidemic disease (such as Zika). Like the massive mobilization and retooling that was done in World War II, the same efforts need to be mobilized for this climate induced World War III if we are to survive its continued onslaughts.
“In every war, there are very real tipping points, past which victory, or even a draw, will become impossible. And when the enemy manages to decimate some of the planet’s oldest and most essential physical features—a polar ice cap, say, or the Pacific’s coral reefs—that’s a pretty good sign that a tipping point is near. In this war that we’re in—the war that physics is fighting hard, and that we aren’t—winning slowly is exactly the same as losing.” —Bill McKibben
For better or worse, facing a common enemy has always united a people. But this time the enemy is not a foreign nation, tribe, race, religion, or gender. This enemy is not something we can combat with boots on the ground, superior air strikes, or better weapons. It is not an enemy we can kill but a severe challenge that we need to solve.
But it is an enemy that can unite humanity in a common task, overriding our differences to battle an even bigger threat. It might just be the perfect enemy to bring humanity to its next level of cooperation.
Bill McKibben says it better than I can, so I encourage you to read this article and pass it on.
Whether we know it or not, we’ve all been drafted.