To the Editor:
New York City has been attacked twice in the past decade — first by Al Qaeda and then by Hurricane Sandy. In response to the first, our nation spent billions invading Iraq and Afghanistan, creating a secret, invasive internal security empire and launching a worldwide war on terror. In response to the second, we are cleaning up the mess and compensating the victims, but doing little if anything to address the cause — climate change.
Many flatly deny its existence and blithely continue a fossil fuel-dependent lifestyle as though nothing is wrong. Our government subsidizes the tax-evading oil companies despite their obscene profits and CEO salaries. Many advocate the pollution-causing, health-threatening practice of fracking, and want to lay the risky Keystone XL pipeline to bring oil from the dirty tar sands of Alberta.
We have just passed the 400 mark in CO2 parts per million, when 350 is the safe upper limit that will preserve the temperature range that allows human civilization to survive. If we don’t reverse this soon, the world we leave to our grandchildren will be characterized by violent storms, food scarcity, both drought and floods, human trafficking, homelessness, extinction of species, a growing rich-poor gap, spiking energy prices, and armed conflict over water and arable land. We’re seeing clear signs of these already.
Old Noah built an ark to save the species and the few humans who would listen. To follow his example, as a nation we must reduce our fossil fuel consumption, invest in renewable energy production, and make dirty energy expensive and clean energy cheap. As individuals, we must cut our carbon footprint. As a society, we must turn away from planet-threatening actions and choose the common good and a hopeful future over individual ease and inevitable disaster.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear.”