A 74-year-old Canadian recently wrote in a Huffington Post article that he and his 64-year-old wife have decided that climate change is unstoppable, so the best they can do is to move someplace where they will be least affected so they can live out their remaining days in peace.
"At 64 and 74 years of age, my wife and I believe there’s a good chance that we’ll be gone before coastal cities are flooded, the ice caps have melted, and the planet descends into a “Mad Max” dystopia," wrote Barry Rueger. "We would like to think that this isn’t what the future has in store, but the intransigence of almost all governments to actually slow carbon emissions leaves little doubt that things are unlikely to turn around."
It's easy to understand Rueger’s point of view as such natural disasters as the horrible fires in Australia, melting icecaps and glaciers, and the increasingly warm temperature of the earth, are threatening the planet. And yet, Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States, scoffs at the scientific evidence and even denies the reports of scientists and other experts within his own administration.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) within Trump's Commerce Department puts it this way:
"Impacts from climate change are happening now. These impacts extend well beyond an increase in temperature, affecting ecosystems and communities in the United States and around the world. Things that we depend upon and value — water, energy, transportation, wildlife, agriculture, ecosystems, and human health — are experiencing the effects of a changing climate."
Whoever wrote that will probably be looking for another job, should Trump find out about it.
It's as if Trump and his legion of climate deniers are making climate change disappear simply by making references and reports about it go away.
Nevertheless, two federally funded websites, Climate.gov and CLEANet.org, have managed to survive. Teachers use both websites to create lessons on everything from increasing CO2 levels to threatened biodiversity to the potential of solar power.
Climate.gov, a function of NOAA, says this on its website:
"NOAA Climate.gov provides science and information for a climate-smart nation. Americans’ health, security, and economic well-being are closely linked to climate and weather. People want and need information to help them make decisions on how to manage climate-related risks and opportunities they face."
Said NBC News in its report, "The durability of Climate.gov and CLEANet.org websites shows that — even under the administration of a president who once denied climate change as a “hoax” — mainstream views of global warming can survive and even thrive."
Of course, the big question is for how long.
The Trump budget proposal for FY 2021 calls for significant reductions to environmental programs across the federal government, including a 26 percent cut to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would eliminate 50 EPA programs, slash research and development, and even end funding for the Energy Star rating system, which helps consumers purchase energy efficient electronics and appliances. If the program is to survive, it will have to rely on fees paid by businesses to participate.
Chip away, chip away, chip away. Deny, deny, deny.
Youth Rise Up
Young Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager, rocked the United Nations with her scolding of the world's leaders for failing her generation on climate change and sparked worldwide climate change protests. She was named Time Magazine's Person of the Year in 2019 and Trump went ballistic, tweeting that she has "anger management issues."
And all the while, the fires rage, the earth continues to warm, the ice caps melt, the crops dry up, water supplies are threatened, coastal communities face floods, and people like the Ruegers are simply hoping their planet will survive at least until they are gone.
But what about those who are younger and the generations to follow? Is it any wonder today's young voters are terrified of the future and aggressively embrace candidates who pledge to effectively combat climate change and preserve the planet?
Denying that climate change exists will not make things better. Erasing those two words -- "climate change" -- from government programs, documents and websites will not cool the earth, irrigate the crops, quell the fires, or ease the devastation of tornadoes and hurricanes. It will not save the planet for people yet to come.
No, we cannot give up on climate change. No matter what. And that makes November 3, 2020 a day that will live in infamy -- one way or the other.