When Will We Feel Panic Over Climate Change?

Since the International Panel on Climate Change declared we have 12 years to turn climate change around several months ago, there has been a torrential flow of urgency to do something about climate change . . . finally.  From the Sunrise Movement’s Green New Deal that Rep. Ocasio-Cortez has embraced with Sen. Markey in the form of a resolution to the House and Senate, Extinction Rebellion’s street blockades in the UK and now global organizing, Greta Thunberg’s speech at the climate talks in Poland inspiring students globally to strike, to David Wallace-Wells article, “Time to Panic,” in the New York Times, February 16, 2019, everyone has gotten on the bandwagon to demand that our leaders do something about climate change . . . more than merely acknowledging its existence.

Even with all this urgency, which has been alarmingly missing from the media for so long, there is still an element of what Wallace-Wells calls “complacency” in his article.

If we are not actually bombarded daily with the reality of catastrophic climate change . . . it is easy . . . once again . . . to forget it is actually happening.  We do not step out of our houses and scream, “There is climate change out there!  Get inside.”

Wallace-Wells says 73% of Americans believe climate change is happening but will not put any money into it in the form of, say, a carbon tax.  I found this to be true in some of my own circle of friends.  Everyone believes in climate change but I hear emphatic statements like, “I can’t live without a/c, I can’t give up my showers, too many blankets are heavy, I have to have meat, etc.”  And . . . I am thinking . . . while rolling my eyes, that we are talking about survival here . . . humanity’s extinction is in plain view to see.  “What will you give up?”  So, Wallace-Wells’ complacency is very evident.  We are doomed.

If the American people aren’t ready to do something serious about climate change, how can we expect the politicians to do anything, while paying homage to their corporate interests?  The Sunrise Movement and Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Markey are not letting go of the Green New Deal . . . thankfully.

While Wallace-Wells states it’s very nice to follow your conscience and give up beef and dairy, collective efforts in the form of a national plan is what is needed.  Well . . . that goes without saying but what do we do in the meantime while waiting for that plan?  Greta Thunberg’s individual action got her name in more than a few households during the climate talks in Poland.  I say . . . don’t underestimate the power of individual action.  And, oh, by the way, the Chevy Bolt gets 238 miles on a charge.  The market sees where this is going, too.

Climate change is becoming more apparent.  News of declining insect species only tells us we are next, in case people think we are somehow exempt from the species pool.  The Arctic is melting, glaciers are disappearing, coral reefs are dying, and as fires raged in California, how many people died and homes burned?  I live in an area where the Kickapoo River flooding has been common throughout history . . . but not every year.  Let’s be reminded, too, that too much flooding or droughts affects the food we grow . . . or can’t grow.

If everyone is not panicking by now, we should be.


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