I have tried, with limited success, to avoid politics in these periodic thoughts because the
airwaves are saturated with the subject, and I believe there are more important issues in life to reflect on. The recent news that we have withdrawn, as a country, from the Paris Climate Accord was an unfortunate train wreck in the crossroads between politics and the well-being of life for all. The plain truth is that the earth is not flat, and climate change is real. God may have promised not to destroy the earth again by flood, but we still can and are well on the way.
I have had the good fortune to visit some of the world’s great ocean reefs over the years, and I have seen them slowly fade to bleached white. Last week I visited Belize, home of the world’s second longest reef. So much of the coral has died that local tourism now boasts access to sharks and turtles, rather than colorful coral reefs, or at least that was my experience.
I lived for a time in South Miami and recall rare occasions when weather and tides combined to flood some low lying areas near Biscayne Bay. Now it is common enough to take a name, “King Tides.”
Humans, as a species, are remarkably adaptive to a wide range of climates. We inhabit barren deserts, the highest mountains and even areas where we have rendered the air and waters nearly uninhabitable to nearly all creatures other than vermin and roaches. Some may be resourceful or wealthy enough to live on with the remaining rats after we have wasted the earth, but billions of individuals and countless species are apt to die out. It will not be pretty.
Our current government may have rejected the majority preference to stand with Paris, but that doesn’t mean that we, as individuals, are without options. It crossed my mind that nothing prevents me from living within the Accord. Consider what might happen if enough of us took the same step. Already, a number of cities and states have pledged to act within the agreement. If you compare the GDP of any one of our states to that of other nations, the comparison is often telling. Georgia, for example, equals the economy of Belgium.
Michael Bloomberg has offered to pay our portion off the administrative costs for the pact. This prompted me to consider ways that I might reduce my carbon footprint, as an individual. The Internet is full of suggestions and examples. Some are as simple as making sure your tires are fully inflated. Raising the settings on your thermostat at home is another.
The list of opportunities is long and environmental change truly can begin person by person and home by home. We should all take the time while there is still time.
P.S. Bill Moyers has an article on what states can do to follow the Paris Accord. Also, the illustration above is from The New Yorker. I try to be respectful of others copyrights, but this online cartoon was truly topical, as is the weekly publication. If you don’t subscribe, you are missing out.