A significant social issue has been before us for quite some time, but we’ve mostly ignored it. The time may be coming when we can no longer do so.
I’m going to reiterate something I’ve said numerous times before, because it still amazes me that so many people just don’t get it: I don’t have any vested interest in this, really. I have no children. I will never have children. (Personally, I think most of you should stop popping out babies like so many virus-laden cells which cannot help but contribute to their own destruction, but that’s another blog entry.) If you ignore these things (e.g., what I’m going to mention below) and contribute to the destruction of the Earth, I couldn’t really give a crap, for the most part. To me, it’s mostly an intellectual or conceptual issue, a question of what would be the moral thing to do in an ideal world; I doubt even the increasing climate change can destroy the Earth fast enough for me to be very negatively impacted. Most people, on the other hand, have children. And I’d think they would love their children, too.
Apparently, most people don’t.
Even more surprisingly, they have no shame about that.
At any rate, the Earth has been around for so long that apparently that everyone just assumes it will be around tomorrow. And to some extent, that’s true. The question is, “What kind of Earth will be around tomorrow?” We know that there have been times in the past when the planet was not really habitable by human beings, or when continents had differing amounts of total mass above water than today. Do you really believe that it could never change? Sit for just a minute — hell, just do it for 30 seconds — do you really believe things could never change?
Drive down the freeway sometime and look at the side of the road. Notice all the garbage that collects there. Think about the fact that when someone threw that napkin out their window, they were probably thinking (if they thought about it at all): “Well, it’s just one napkin. How can that hurt?” And that’s how all the trash you see got there. (Even more incredible: think about the numbers of times you’ve seen road crews picking stuff up, and yet the freeways will still amaze you if you pay attention to the amount of trash there.)
This doesn’t just happen on the sides of freeways, folks. In the same way that little bits of paper — a cup tossed here, a can tossed there — add up to give you what you can see on the side of the freeway, so, too, do the pollutants given off by our cars, our trucks, our chimneys, and our power plants, to name just a few sources of pollution, accumulate in our air and water. Yet just as the trash along the side of the freeway doesn’t “register” with you unless you pay attention to it, so it is with the rest of pollution. And, yet there’s another way in which that pollution is like the stuff on the side of the road: If you actually stop to look and think about it, it will blow your mind.
Here in the San Joaquin Valley, how many of you have ever noticed that there are times of the year — mostly in the rainy seasons — when you can see the mountains? And yet there are other “perfectly clear” days in which you cannot. Why do you think that is?
It’s the gaseous pollutants in the air which haven’t yet been washed down to flavor our ground water.
These pollutants have a significant impact — much more than most of us realize — on climate. They heat up our cities by helping to create thermal inversions. And they do the same thing over glaciers, ice packs and other areas that normally keep significant amounts of water from flowing into the oceans.
Yet people like “christian” commentator James Dobson (who made millions of dollars pretending to care very much about your children) and Pat Robertson (who has made millions pretending to care about souls and whether or not they were “saved” by God even as Pat and his minions were praying for their death and destruction) argue that by caring about the planet, we are demonstrating “an underlying hatred for America.” (I guess they think Genesis 9:1-3 was only about consumption. Or maybe they figure since the whole earth is God’s — Exodus 19:5; 1 Samuel 2:8; 1 Chronicles 29:11 — he can take care of it. Or maybe they figure that our responsibilities — see Genesis 2:15 — ended on the day we became like Pat Robertson and James Dobson and were tossed from the Garden.)
Even the chance that [global warming] is a real issue should motivate each and every one of us to action. — Thomas Leppert, Chief Executive of Turner Construction, quoted in Andrew T. Gillies, “In The Eye Of The Global Warming Storm” (June 16, 2006) Forbes (alteration in the original).
The fact is, that no one can be said to have more of an underlying hatred for America, and every other place on the Earth, than those who would stand idly by and allow it to be destroyed.
And, leaving you with that thought, I return to my bar studies.