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November 12, 2014


The Third Edition of the New American Webster Handy College Dictionary tells us that the word dinosaur came into being in the 19th century from the Greek deinos (terrible) and sauros (lizard). Thus Anglicized, the word dinosaur means terrible lizard and, as the dictionary further amplifies, a extinct gigantic reptile. I here note that such a description is far removed from a description of the cute little gecko lizards who sell us insurance on television these days, but it appears these cute little lizards are going to go the same route as their (really) big brothers into the pit of extinction not all that long from now, an end by drowning and loss of food source due to simultaneous extinction of insect prey. Water already covers most of the earth, and is set to finish the job. Insurance is not likely to be available from geckos or any other living being in such a chaotic era when human survival and civilization are at stake.

We are told by scientists that the geckos’ much bigger brothers, the terrible lizards, became extinct as a result of a collision of a large asteroid with our planet some 65 million years ago. Our predecessors (whoever they were) managed to survive this debacle and perhaps wound up better off with extinction of these terrible lizards since such prehistoric hominids were probably prey in a world ruled by dinosaurs. (Now we descendants of such hominids prey on one another in more sundry and subtle ways, but that is fodder for another essay, not this one.)

With the foregoing as prelude, this essay is not about dinosaurs per se, it is rather about the secondary meaning adjectivally assigned by the dictionary to the word dinosaur via the term “dinosaurian” and it is this: “Anything outmoded or resistant to change.” Thus those who favored square wheels over round ones in history and those lately who favor typewriters over computers could be called dinosaurian. Such “dinosaurs” by their choices are out of step with both history and reality. Square wheels would not prosper on today’s interstates, and typewriters cannot send and receive messages. Science and innovation have thus changed the ways we travel and communicate – and much more.

Science now tells us that there is global warming not just on our horizon but in effect today with the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps and starving polar bears in the Arctic where the ice floes are melting and thus no seals (polar bears’ prey) are available. Fishermen in the Gulf of Alaska are netting tropical fish and debris never seen there before. The oceans are measurably warming and increasing in volume. Temperatures of both air and water are measurably increasing due to increased gaseous content in the atmosphere, gases created in large measure by human burning of fossil fuels.

The evidence is overwhelming and, worse, its measurable effects are accelerating. It has to be clear to any rational person that we are headed for catastrophe unless we do something to forestall the coming tsunami of water and air not fit to breathe, and yet there are those among us who deny the undeniable and agitate for policies which would exacerbate the problem rather than solve it. I would define such people as dinosaurs and/or dinosaurian. Like those who favored square wheels and typewriters, these people are out of step with both history and reality, which wouldn’t be so bad if their influence on policy did not have the potential to invite cataclysm, but it does.

Some such as Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh have even politicized the issue, as though melting ice and polluted atmosphere have anything to do with one’s political views. They don’t; drowning and smothering are bipartisan exercises. People who trivialize the coming catastrophe on logically unrelated grounds are not doing humanity any favors. The fossil fuel industry with its Exxon refineries these people may be trying to protect with their inanities will not function under 500 fathoms of water, nor will homo sapiens, the latest version of the human race.

Terrible lizards of 65 million years ago did not know an asteroid was coming, and even if they somehow could know, had no means of avoiding catastrophe. What’s our excuse? We know what’s coming, and we know how to either prevent it altogether or at least substantially reduce its otherwise disastrous effects. Are we to be thwarted in our attempts to prevent catastrophe? Is everything political, even our survival as a species?

If it is, then the order of “hot button” topics the politicians of this country has in mind per the latest media accounts, i.e., immigration, tax reform, wealth sharing, minimum wages and the like seem to me to be worthy of consideration ONLY AFTER we have settled the issue of what we are going to have to do to survive on this spinning orb in space. After all, none of these issues nor the way they are resolved will matter if we do not at first survive. There will be no concern for those would-be immigrants who cross the Rio Grande when that riverbed is under 3,000 feet of water and there are no immigrants to come across it in any event. All issues and their resolution plainly pale by comparison with survival itself.

First things first – let’s first make arrangements to exist after which we can engage in the luxury of how we will do so, of who gets what, how and when etc. One would think that every human being on earth would agree with this obvious truism, but not so, not with denial and greed firmly in place among some. (These irrational holdouts from reason remind me of my old World Politics professor in college who refused to use the phrase homo sapiens; he insisted on calling us homo saps. When listening to the feeble rationales to do nothing advocated by such holdouts today with disaster staring us in the face, I am beginning to see the point my old professor was trying to make.)

My followers know that I am deeply into solution of economic and political issues of today within the parameters of Keynesianism and democracy, but know this: We must first survive, the tsunami is building and the clock is ticking. First things first. Let’s tell our politicians.  GERALD    E


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