Destruction Of The US. (Part One – The Climate Crisis)

There are those who say that the US can withstand the damage done by Trump; that the Constitution will prevail; that people will come to their senses. I wish I could be that certain. In the coming weeks, I will be examining the damage done to our nation and our planet by this rogue presidency beginning with what is arguably our greatest threat: The Climate Crisis.

You may remember some of the progress made during the Obama administration: It embraced the UN’s Agenda 21 – a non-binding plan that emerged from the UN Conference on Environment and Development in 1992 that set goals for combating poverty, promoting human health, promoting sustainable development, protecting the atmosphere, combating deforestation, managing fragile ecosystems, conserving biological diversity and more. It created incentives for the manufacture and use of sustainable energy alternatives. It created more stringent standards for coal-fired generating plants. It protected sensitive lands and endangered species from oil exploration and mining interests. It pushed to end factory fishing and created a national monument to protect a sensitive coral reef.

Under the Obama administration, the Navy began to plan for the sea level rise predicted by most of the world’s climate scientists. And the military began to power some of its installations with sustainable energy.

Most importantly, the Obama administration not only signed the Paris Climate Accords. It helped to create the agreement. Indeed, President Obama called it “the best chance to save the planet.”

Then along came Trump.

The racist, anti-Obama chief executive quickly withdrew our nation from the Paris agreement making the US now the only nation on the planet that is not a signatory. (Even Syria signed the pact.) He ordered his administration to relax standards for carbon emissions, in addition to deregulating some of the worst polluters. He ordered government agencies such as the EPA, NASA, NOAA, and others to remove any mention of climate change and its effects. He appointed political hacks and climate change deniers to cabinet positions and numerous other positions of power. He eliminated many regulations on coal mining and oil drilling to encourage further development of climate-changing fossil fuels. And his Interior Department began selling mineral rights on federal lands to the highest bidders. His administration even cut the Bears Ears National Monument – a place of great spiritual significance to Native Americans and of archeological importance – in half in order to make its mineral rights available.

In addition, the Trump administration plans to open the Arctic – a region already suffering from the severe impact of the climate crisis – to more oil exploration.

Worst of all, Trump has cut incentives for the manufacture of solar panels and wind turbines thereby ceding their manufacture to foreign companies. He has proposed rolling back emission standards for American-made vehicles. He has cut incentives for the purchase of solar panels and electric-powered cars. And he has abandoned virtually all government research into ways to mitigate the climate crisis.

Do Trump and his supporters not live on the same planet we do? Have they not read the mounting evidence of a true global catastrophe? Have they not heard the warnings of extreme temperatures and rising sea levels? Have they not read reports of dying coral reefs and the extinction of species? Have they not experienced the anguish of watching another community torn apart by an extraordinary storm fueled by extreme temperatures? Do they not understand that one reason for the immigration crisis at our border is climate change? And that mass migration from climate change will only grow?

The world’s climate scientists say that we only have a decade or less to act in order to head off the worst effects of the climate crisis. And every few months, they announce that the climate is spiraling out of control even more quickly than their worst-case scenarios. The climate crisis is not a hoax! In fact, it is all too real. Indeed, the only questions left are: Will we act in time? Will our actions be enough? Will Trump be re-elected.

If the latter happens, it will almost certainly be game over.

Environmental Suicide.

Many years ago, a scientist named Paul Ehrlich convinced me of the dangers of uncontrolled population growth. He helped create an organization named Zero Population Growth (ZPG) which called for couples to have no more than two children – the number needed to replace the parents while maintaining the existing population. At the time, the world’s population stood at approximately 3.6 billion.

In 2011, the world population exceeded 7 billion!

Even today, few of the world’s governments have taken serious action to limit population growth. Discounting the effects of our never-ending wars, the exception is the one baby policy instituted by China and Indonesia. By enforcing a policy of one baby per couple, the governments hoped to improve economic conditions for their people while preserving dwindling resources. Although the populations of China and Indonesia have continued to grow, by most accounts, the policy has worked. China claims that 400,000 births have been averted. As a result, it recently announced that it will begin to relax the policy.

It seems that one of the biggest obstacles to population control is the lack of access to contraception. Population Action International estimates that as many as 215 million women around the world who want to prevent pregnancy need contraception. Many of these women are denied access to education and contraceptives by religion. This is even a problem in the Americas, especially Latin America.

That’s because the Vatican and other religious leaders have called for a ban on contraceptives and family planning. (It seems they believe that only God can decide the number of children to be born.) These religions often consider science the enemy of faith. Further, many of the same religions tell us that we have nothing to fear from over-population; that if the Earth is destroyed, the faithful will all end up in heaven. Indeed, some religious leaders are anxiously awaiting the “Rapture.”

The attitudes of politicians and corporations are nearly as bad.

In the US, some conservative politicians are trying to ban access to both contraception and abortion. In addition, many corporations see population control and environmental regulations as threats to sales growth. Any real effort to stop global warming would curb the sales of the oiligarchy. And how would corporations continue the escalation of their share prices if they couldn’t clear-cut forests, extract minerals, pillage our oceans, and create sprawling subdivisions?

Large profits require large populations.

Meanwhile, scientists the world over are screaming about the effects of over-population and the increased burning of fossil fuels. They point to alarming evidence that our environment may soon reach a tipping point. They cite statistics of rising temperatures, rising sea levels and shrinking ice shelves. They warn that lost species are like canaries in the coal mine; that the extinction of such species is a precursor to the extinction of our own.

If none of that alarms you, maybe this video will. The scientist in the video makes one of the most compelling (and frightening) arguments yet.