The 112th session of the United States Congress doesn’t convene until January, but the GOP is already flexing its ignorance.
Last week Republicans announced they would be scrapping the four-year-old Select Committee for Energy Independence and Global Warming because it was created by the Democrats to promote “job-killing national energy taxes” and they wanted to save taxpayers money by reducing frivolous expenditures. They relayed this folly with deadpan earnestness, as if it was their solemn duty to be purposefully obtuse; as if it were part of their party platform, a matter of principle or impassioned lack thereof. And, of course, that’s exactly what it was.
For all the weeping and gnashing of teeth they cued up for the cameras regarding the economic trials and tribulations we’ll be passing on to our great-grandkids through deficit spending, they are voluntarily heedless of the ecological calamities our descendants will inherit due to idle dithering.
I realize this Democrat-created committee probably amounted to little more than a token gesture towards the cause, but at least it acknowledged global warming and our untenable reliance on fossil fuels. At least it placed these issues in direct proximity with our legislative process, whereby they might accidentally slip into serious legislative discussions by osmosis (if nothing else). This committee was a step, however infantile.
The GOP and most of its supporters keep squealing about the costs of being environmentally conscious and crying about insufficient evidence regarding climate change, but exorbitant costs and lack of evidence didn’t stop them from invading Iraq. Remember the 1% doctrine?
Also known as the “Cheney Doctrine,” it stipulated that if there was 1% chance Iraq was working on nuclear weapons, we had to treat it as a certainty in terms of response. It basically gave the Bush Administration carte blanche to invade Iraq if a yellowing Nuclear Valdez cassette tape was found in Baghdad.
There’s clearly more than a 1% chance that human beings are accelerating or exacerbating the conditions responsible for global warming and these conditions will probably lead to catastrophes that make the threat of nukes in Iraq or the deficit spending that occurred during the Great Recession look as profound and menacing as the flutter of Bristol Palin’s right eyelid. Where’s the prudence, the caution, the weepy, teeth-gnashing humanity? Is it only reserved for scare tactics?
So be it. Here’s something scary.
The twilight of the idles is approaching. Our parents and grandparents had the luxury of growing up in a time when the fact that we were imperiling our environment was not widely known or understood. Most of us would love to have been afforded that sense of existential innocence, but it’s impossible to recapture. We’re running Eden into the ground. We can no longer ignore the fact that our natural resources are finite, our habitats are fragile and our ecosystems are delicately balanced. We aren’t going to be able to live as recklessly as previous generations did.
If we ignore the preponderance of evidence regarding climate change and the implications that global warming portends, the last thing our descendants will have to worry about is dealing with the federal deficit. They’ll simply be trying to survive.
There’s no reason to sugar-coat things. At our present rate of consumption, waste and resource degradation, we’re only a century away from a self-induced, ecological holocaust. And the point of no return may very well be reached in our lifetime.
We need to start using less and wanting less. Extravagance needs to invite scorn and shame, not envy. Rapid, incessantly rising profit margins need to begin to be treated like unsustainably high blood pressure, not a healthy pulse. We need to limit population growth, preserve our natural ecosystems, invest in renewable energy sources, detoxify our rivers, streams and water sources, ban industrial fishing, eradicate industrial farming, eliminate corporate personhood, restrain corporate multi-nationalism, dismantle our for-profit military-industrial complex, etc., etc.
You can’t pretend to care about the quality of life for our great-grandchildren if you’re unwilling to address global warming. You can’t claim to care about the future of this country if you’re not committed to steering it towards cleaner power sources.
A revolution in thinking must be achieved. We must replace fossil fuels. We must learn that less is more. We must re-learn how to live in harmony with nature.
Materialism must face the guillotine. Capitalism must be pilloried. If the US does not lead, or at least join, this revolution, it will likely go the way of the USSR. And rightfully so.
The clock is ticking.