In the history of our planet, there have been five previous major mass extinctions. Now there's a sixth mass extinction brewing... the Holocene extinction. The Holocene is comparable in scope to the one that wiped T-Rex and all his dinosaur brethren off the face of the earth. Until recently a majority of the public had no idea about the ticking time bomb in their midst.
But that's changing. Now a majority of Americans are concerned if not downright freaked out over what man-made climate change is doing to our world. A Pew Research Center survey conducted earlier this year found:
- Two-thirds of U.S. adults say the federal government is doing too little to reduce the effects of global climate change.
- Compared with a decade ago, more Americans say protecting the environment and dealing with global climate change should be top priorities for the president and Congress.
- A 63% majority of Americans say stricter environmental regulations are worth the cost.
- A majority of Americans see at least some local effects of climate change.
Frankly, there's alarming evidence that we are running out of time to reverse the impacts of climate change that are all around us.
We just had our hottest September since at least 1880. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports September 2020 was 1.75 degrees hotter than the 20th century average. And 2020 could end up as the hottest year on record...full stop.
I've previously proposed that turning back the impacts of climate change is way, way, WAY harder than say nominating a conservative judge for the Supreme Court.
But if the public is super on board for doing something...ANYTHING to stem climate change ...then why aren’t' we as a nation working on the issue?
The answer is one that frankly sickens the soul. The Pew Research Center survey also showed that our nation has politicized climate change. As Pew put it: "Partisanship is a stronger factor in people's beliefs about climate change than is their level of knowledge and understanding about science."
Let. That. Sink. In.
Democrats are far more likely than Republicans to embrace public policy/legislation in an effort to reverse climate change impacts. In fact if the past four years is prologue it's not unfair the characterize the GOP current position on climate change as Hakuna Matata:
Hakuna Matata! What a wonderful phrase
Hakuna Matata! Ain't no passing craze
It means no worries for the rest of your days
It's our problem-free philosophy
Want a real world example? Releasing methane gas into the atmosphere is perhaps the worse thing humanity can do if it wants to slow climate change impacts. But hey Hukuna Matata. In August the White House moved to ease U.S methane restrictions.
Let me ask this. Is there something, anything in how the White House and GOP controlled Senate has managed climate change over the past four years that gives you even a glimmer of hope that the next four years will be different?
For me this isn't a partisan Democrat vs. Republican issue. Frankly I'd vote for an Irish-setter for president if the pooch has a comprehensive climate change policy and the will to push it through Congress. The next four years very well could be decisive if we have any hope of slowing or reversing climate change. Time is running out.
Nothing, nothing, nothing is more critical to our future. Go to the polls and vote.
About Dave Dickey
Dickey spent nearly 30 years at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s NPR member station WILL-AM 580 where he won a dozen Associated Press awards for his reporting. For 13 years, he directed Illinois Public Media’s agriculture programming. His weekly column for the Midwest Center covers agriculture and related issues including politics, government, environment and labor. His opinions are his own and do not reflect the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting. Email him at email@example.com.