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April 19, 2018



Professor Kennedy in her blog yesterday noted that it may be the young who save the planet since we adults have failed to rein in the fossil fuel industry’s destruction of our environment. She identified changes in the Gulf Stream, the Sahel and other such changes thought to be worse since we have failed to attend to the fossil fuel industry’s continuing destruction of our climate etc. A group of young people have sued the government for its failure to protect our environment. Peggy, one of the blog’s contributors, rightly noted that even a win in court would have to be followed by legislative enactment and executive enforcement to be effective. The professor asked for commentary and the following, slightly edited, was mine.

True, Peggy. Winning in court (if reason does) is just the first step in obtaining environmental relief in our tripartite form of government. We can expect greedy capitalists who prefer money today over survival tomorrow to fight tooth and nail to blunt the judicial outcome in the halls of Congress and, of course, the Oval Office, and trouble is, we may be so far down the trail of environmental destruction that the issue will have become moot as our oceans become cesspools and our air unbreathable. We thus need relief as quickly as possible before the degradation becomes irreversible, if not already.

I recall reading years ago about potential changes in the Gulf Stream and the consequent return of walruses and polar bears to Northern Europe (though at the current rate of extinction there may not be any walruses and polar bears to make such a southerly migration). Per the article, if the Gulf Stream significantly changes course or just goes away, it would not be the first time. Such a change would obviously have a profound effect on our civilization and a reversal of the current south to north migration in both hemispheres, which would be hampered by the accelerating growth of population as well as enormous social and economic displacement. Think chaos.

However, it appears the kids are riding their white horses in from the west to save the greedy and ignorant in the castle (apologies to Sir Walter Scott), so if there is time and if reason prevails, and if the issue isn’t mooted by nasty environmental events currently in progress, perhaps humanity can still dodge the bullet (though that’s a lot of “ifs”). Trump and his greedy backers (stripped of sexual and Second Amendment diversions) are nothing more than economic Luddites, but survival trumps profit and to paraphrase a minstrel, “The times they had better be achanging” – or else – and time is not on our side.

Our task is to throw these greedy and environmentally oblivious Luddites out this November in an election that is not only important but quite possibly one that is existential since, among other things, we may be at an environmental tipping point (if it is not already in our wake). So will our kids and kids everywhere in some global cooperative save the future? Time (and resolve) will tell. Meanwhile, and at all costs, we must protect and expand our most precious asset held in common from the gathering forces of fascism – our democracy. Nothing is more important.     GERALD       E





























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