Photo: glennhurowitz / Flickr
In a month and a half, we have already witnessed a lack of care and decency with regards to climate change and the environment from this administration. They have made it plainly clear that they care more about lining the coffers of industry and their own pockets than they do about the sustainability of Earth for their own children and grandchildren.
This administration will do away with the EPA, pollute our rivers and streams, permit the most unfair hunting techniques in wildlife refuges and allow the destruction of wilderness — the “untouched” and “untarnished” places — if it means making themselves richer and the environment poorer.
We know that biological diversity is our greatest asset and our greatest antidote to climate change and extinction. Yet, this is only half the story. The energy and transportation sectors, both reliant on fossil fuels, account for roughly 40 percent of anthropogenic carbon emissions (IPCC, 2014).
Another quarter of anthropogenic carbon emissions, the ones NEVER discussed in climate change and sustainability talks, are agriculture and land use.
Hundreds of thousands of children are starving to death in developing countries worldwide. Yet, we produce more than enough food globally to feed them all at reasonable prices, and in culturally acceptable ways, which will not undermine their livelihoods or their food security.
Yet, it is happening because of human-rights violations, genocide and terror in the countries themselves; and it is happening because countries, like ours, refuse to acknowledge climate change or lead with ill-advised governance.
Unfortunately, many environmentalists discuss taking shorter showers, turning off the sink when washing dishes, or driving more fuel-efficient vehicles; and yet, eating a burger, or worse, a cheeseburger, is the equivalent of taking 3 months of showers and driving 10 or more miles!
We can feed the world, we can do it now, even though we are not. It is worrisome to think we may not be able to feed another 3 billion plus people, or more in the next 30 years, because of our love for an animal-heavy diet; which, in the next 30 years could overtake energy as the leading cause of climate change.
The volume of grains and other resources that go to feeding animals for first-world consumption could easily prevent famine all over the world.
But the double punch of fossil-fuel use and egregious agricultural waste drives the changes in our atmosphere, leading to the extinctions of millions of years-old species, including the Great Barrier Reef and habitats the world over.
The United States drives the most cars, uses the most carbon, eats the most meat and contributes significantly to climate change.
We in the first-world plunder Earth the most, give back the least and make those who contribute nothing to either problem suffer the consequences.
Conversely, the people living in the Horn of Africa contribute minimally and are literally starving. It was obvious. I saw it in Ethiopia when I worked with World Vision studying the nexus of climate change and food security.
Similarly, the people living in low-lying island nations contribute minimally and are being displaced from their homes, their land and their lives.
Something has to change. Clearly, this election cycle didn’t see that change; and that is terrifying. Earth may not recover from four or more years of backward environmental policies.
For those of us who wish to see Earth as survivable, livable, tenable for our children, and grandchildren, we need to keep up the resistance, we need to keep disseminating REAL, scientific information. And we need to fight.
We are but one world, one planet, one Earth, in a sea of trillions upon trillions upon trillions of stars, galaxies and planets. There is a high probability of life existing on other planets. But, even if there is, we cannot travel to those distant stars and planets.
We live on a blue, watery jewel; and we are killing it and all its biological diversity. We are allowing people to suffer in innumerable ways over short-sighted, financial gains now, for the wealthy.
This is the tragedy of the commons — but to the nth degree.
The more environmentally-destructive policies this administration and others emulating it around the world pass, the more I fear for the longevity of our species, and for other species on this beautiful planet.
If you care about your children and your children’s children, join the resistance, speak out about climate change, #EatYourPlants, and continue to fight and #Vote for the environment.