Fears often exist because of something we do not understand or cannot visualize. This would be true for the ‘monster under the bed’, ‘fear of darkness’, and even ‘fear of the afterlife’. But the fear I want to talk about today is a different kind. It is a fear of knowing your doom and feeling helpless. I am of course talking about political unwillingness to halt the damage to our environment.
For decades, scientists have been warning politicians and the public about the impending doom of climate change if we crossed the threshold point of no return. Well, we have since passed that threshold and are now accelerating to subsequent checkpoints rather than running away from them. Are we trying to be like Icarus and tempt fate by flying towards the burning Sun? Does our species really think that we are invulnerable to our planet’s fate? The problem is politics and money ruling the world. In a world where the laws and regulations are generally made by people who stand to financial benefit or be hurt by those decisions, why would they follow public interest over their own? We are supposed to have rules in place to prevent this level of bias and corruption, but when those charged with enforcing those rules are playing the same game, we reach zero accountability. And in that type of society, there is zero incentive towards fixing the environment if these individuals and corporations do not profit from it. The almighty dollar runs things.
So, here we have the giant conundrum that is our fate. We want to fix it, but the rules are stacked massively in favour of not fixing it. We see our doom and understand that life for our children and their children will be relatively inhospitable compared to the climate a hundred years ago. When did we become so complacent and accepting of a status quo? Why do we not see injustice and fight tooth and nail to correct it? If you see your neighbour’s house on fire, do you not try to intervene and help them, or do you just sit back and watch? Because that feels like what our society is doing lately, just watching everything slowly be consumed by metaphorical (but now becoming literal) fire.
Some will look to daily weather and say how “it was cold the other day” to try and disprove of climate change. But weather is not climate. Weather is day-to-day changes and iterations of precipitation and temperature. Climate is the trend and averages of that weather. We have historical data to show that climate is trending hotter and hotter year after year, and yet we choose to ignore that because we are told to by who? Politicians. Those that benefit from inaction. Don’t get me wrong, even wildfires have lulls where you might think it’s dying down much like some extra cold days in early spring will make you feel. But then that seemingly controlled wildfire will reignite until it has run its course. Well, our planet’s “wildfire” from climate change has begun because of our inaction as a species. But that doesn’t mean we should just stand back and watch it burn everything down. Instead, let’s get on the metaphorical hoses and do what we can to limit the inevitable damage this will cause.
How can we do this? The simplest and most effective solution at first is to stop electing politicians who are bought by corporations, because they will never be able to separate themselves from the financial politics. This means both Republicans and corporate Democrats (yes, most of them are included here). We need to elect individuals who actually come from the general population and not grown from corporate handouts and endorsements. Climate change is not a money problem, it is a species survival problem. If we can pay trillions of dollars as a global economy to wage wars for petty differences, we can afford to fix the planet. We just have to want to fix it above all else. And until we begin to care more about this environmental war than political and religious wars, we will remain doomed to burn in the inferno that I guarantee you is much hotter than the heat of swiping your credit card at the gas pump.