I guess the question is whether we are capable of keeping our home planet healthy enough to support human life or whether we are tragically short sighted and destined to become a footnote in the history of this planet. As George Carlin put it “The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.”
Can we do it? What are my grandkids going to face? How does one muster any hope?
Hurricane Katrina proved that we can know exactly what is going to happen and still bury our heads in the sand. Ivor van Heerden, the Louisiana State University hurricane researcher who ran a 5-day FEMA drill covering the exact scenario that would play out 3 years later, related his experience briefing the feds, “Those FEMA officials wouldn’t listen to me. Those Corps of Engineers people giggled in the back of the room when we tried to present information.”
This timeline shows exactly how the devastation from Hurricane Katrina was completely anticipated by anybody who had a clue. FEMA identified a major hurricane hitting New Orleans as one of the top three catastrophe’s facing the nation. Senator Landrieu warned her Capitol Hill colleagues that they needed to protect and defend wetlands which provided a protective buffer around New Orleans (wetlands, not suburban shopping malls, help dissipate hurricanes) and that the levees needed attention. Studies pointed out that evacuation plans were insufficient. There simply were not enough buses. Jurisdiction over the buses was sketchy.
Maybe humans are capable of better. When faced with comparable disaster the Cubans pulled together and took care of their own. But Americans are sitting in the middle of the road like a big blind and deaf dog as the climate change truck comes barreling down.
World leaders and social forum activists have descended on Copenhagen, yet U.S. representatives stubbornly refuse to commit to basic goals. Global climate change has been on the radar for several dozen years. And, just as the scientific consensus has solidified, conservatives have decided that Real Conservatives don’t believe in global climate change. It is now officially part of conservative identity to reject efforts to address the issue. Slippage in polling is mostly due to Republican defection on the issue. It’s now part of the Fox News orthodoxy.
As we go through our daily lives, most of us don’t even want to understand what is going on. Any viewer of Jay Leno’s Jaywalking bit has to cringe in awareness that our Democracy isn’t exactly thriving with a well informed citizenry. I remember talking to a coworker 10 years ago who had recommended that I buy a large SUV. I demurred, commenting about gas guzzling, carbon emissions and global warming. It was the first he had heard of it.
Ten years later and our corporate media has handed in a mediocre job, at best, of bringing our neighbors up to speed. As Americans we are “free” to ignore the looming shitstorm. Our American social and political systems just aren’t designed to plan sufficiently for our own survival. Will the rest of the world be powerful enough to drag us along?No tag for this post.