Excuse me, for a moment, if I get a little political.
By “political,” I mean ‘Discuss an issue that has been politicized when there’s absolutely no reason for that to have happened’.
This piece, readers, is about climate change.
It is estimated that we have a maximum of ~10 years to mitigate the worst effects of climate change. It’s already too late to STOP adverse climate change, but we have 10 years to make its long-term effects merely “A bad problem that will cause a lot of hardship, which was fully preventable and will serve as a testament to a few corporations’ lust for short-term profits even in the face of the worst economic externality mankind has ever seen” as opposed to “A catastrophic problem that will make large portions of the planet uninhabitable, leading to food and water shortages, unprecedented refugee crises and potentially the end of civilization as we know it.”
Even the last denialist holdouts are now acknowledging this
reality, though somehow they continue to escape accountability for their role
in holding us back this whole time.
Obviously, we should have been on this decades ago.
(You know how sometimes, when you have a project due, you get to the last minute and some sort of switch flips and you really kick it into gear and everything starts working and you power through it and do your best work under that pressure? Yeah, well, uhh…let’s hope that happens here, on like, a collective-of-humanity level!)
So, it is among this backdrop that a group of Actual
Children came to Senator Dianne Feinstein’s office to – as the living
generation that will be most affected by worst-case-scenario climate change –
essentially beg her for their lives.
These children showed up to ask the Senator to support a piece of legislation called the Green New Deal.
Now, we can have a productive debate on whether that is the best piece of legislation to confront climate change. We can discuss whether its methods will work, whether it does to much, whether it does too little, whatever. What we CANNOT afford to do is downplay the scale of the problem and therefore the scale required for any solution that will actually solve it.
These children – and just so we’re clear, when I say “children,”
I don’t mean college students, I mean actual, 9-through-16-year-old children –
were met with a Senator who did exactly that.
Let’s set aside the fact that whatever staffer told this
Senator that it would be a good look for her to talk down to actual children
should probably be fired for awful PR management. Let’s sidestep that. Let’s
look at some of the things Feinstein actually said, because I think it gives us
a window into our political leaders’ lack of ability to address the scope of
this problem. Remember, Feinstein is a Democrat, the party that supposedly
CARES about addressing climate change!
“We’re not going to get it done in 10 years.”
Senator, that’s the only thing I have to know about your
draft resolution to know that it’s not worth the paper it’s printed on.
According to the best science we have on the subject of climate change, we’ve got 10 years. Your plan can address this situation differently from Green New Deal, and I’m fine with that, but if it doesn’t address it in a timespan of 10 years, your plan is rooted in politics, not in science.
“I’ve been a Senator for 30 years, I know what I’m doing.”
There have been more carbon emissions in the past 30 years
than in the previous 500, so with respect, you’re not very good at it.
“You’re 16? Well then you didn’t vote for me.”
MEANWHILE, IN 2020…
Until next time, for the love of the planet, keep thinking.