Curtain Raiser

May the Storms Boost Action, Colltalers

While three hurricanes parade destruction and mayhem through the Caribbean and southern parts of the U.S., a pervasive and irresponsible point keeps being highlighted on media coverage: not ‘all’ is caused by climate change. It’s not a relevant point, just an old diversion tactic.
It’s a way to sow doubt to dilute resolve, and focus on effect rather than causes. Climate deniers, just like gun advocates and war enthusiasts, like to weaponize misery to preserve the ignorant status quo. Perhaps it’s time to restate the few reasons climate is changing. Because it is.
Those arguing to the contrary are not trying to have an enlightening discussion, only to fuel millions of gigabytes already wasted on Internet trolling. And the end result is always the same: to rehash debunked talking points floated by interests financially invested into the matter.
For despite being discredited since the 1980s by the scientific community, like zombies, those foolish arguments keep popping up on Google on equal footing to serious research. Even as many now know that they were planted mostly by the fossil fuel industry, many still don’t.
This thing is, science in itself can’t be settled for good, at least not in a way that prevents us from learning more about the natural world. But we wouldn’t be able to navigate life if so much scientific knowledge hadn’t been proven right enough to support it. In other words, there’s a lot still left to learn about evolution, germs, or gravity. But what we already know is enough to save us, mainly by standing clear from them.
Thus, to argue that climate change can’t completely explain why natural disasters have been harsher, and records of seawater levels are being broken year after year, is a discussion better suited to lab research. To use it to distract and, ultimately, sabotage immediate action is, well, immoral. We can’t wait till we know all that there’s to know about gravity, before advising people that jumping off heights will kill them.
So why should we wait until coastal lines and islands become flooded and inhabitable, as it just happened in Central America, before joining global efforts to reverse causes for what is already happening in the first place? The president may’ve not realized that some of his expensive properties were vulnerable to storms, before withdrawing from the Paris Accord. But either way, he can afford to rebuild them. Most can’t.
Somehow though, it’d be naive to think that such small risk were not part of his grand equation, of giving his friends in the oil and gas and coal industries a free ride, in exchange for their financial backing. But in the end, even the U.S. president can’t deny the reality, not for long.
He will, though, be seen by history as part of the problem. And may have to answer the heartbreaking consequences of his

decisions. As the coming weeks and months will be a corollary of such consequences, the lives lost, the staggering extension of material damage that will be uncovered after the water recedes, it’s our duty to link every figure to the overall causes for such destruction, besides those no one can avoid.
And here’s what everyone needs to know: climate change is man made for at least five, easy to understand reasons: the burning of coal, oil and gas. People around the world are forced to depend of them for energy, housing and transportation needs. Carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide emissions from the burning, trap heat and boost global temperatures. As a result, every year has been hotter than the one before it.
Cutting down ancient forest, even when replacing them with faster growing, single species of trees. Forests are climate regulators and one of the few ways to recapture CO2 from the atmosphere. Also, burning a large, low-commercial value part of them, compounds to the problem.
Food habits. The meat industry is the biggest reason why forests are cleared on a regular and record-breaking pace, so to create pastures and soil for animal food production. In addition, livestock raised for consumption has become the single biggest source of methane thrown into the atmosphere. Which would be spared of 1.2 million tons of CO2, if every American would skip meat today. Hence, Meatless Monday.
The fourth simple reason why the planet is getting hotter is our use of fertilizers containing nitrogen, and fluorinated gases, for refrigerators, air-conditioners, foams, and aerosol cans, among other applications. Understandably, many people don’t have a choice about these, but that’s not the case of the U.S. and most European Union nations, where they’re regulated, and hopefully, on the way to be completely phased out.
Finally, and coming back to easy points to invoke during those heated family discussions about climate change, our lifestyle. Just as no one loses weight without diet and exercise, no matter what’s been advertised about it, we won’t survive without willing to change and sacrifice.
Our culture of consumption, of using and discarding an incredible large number of manufactured goods on a daily basis, is at the end of the day, what really fuels our current desperate situation. As it goes, industrial production is completely disassociated from recycling and reusing. And so are we, from what we consume to where it comes from. That’s the part no one succeeds without help from community and politics.
That’s why is so important not to lose sight of one of the few silver linings every disaster provides: it brings us closer to neighbors and co-workers, groups and organizations of support. Not just to pool resources and seek help, but to get on the same page about common issues.
Only together it’s possible to demand honest, comprehensive media coverage of what’s affecting us all. Beyond ‘human side stories,’ apart from the immediate needs of those hurt by the crisis. It’s crucial to bring those in charge of the information to do it to everyone’s benefit.
Unifying our understanding of what climate change means, not just to people in Texas, in Florida, in the Caribbean and Mexico, but also in Bangladesh, and India, and Pakistan, may be a powerful way to bridge the gap between Americans and the people and countries the military and the administration have declared to be our enemies. Our humanity is what will restore peace on this world, not our guns, race or religion.
There must be a time to heal our wounds, and recognizing that we’re all affected by bad political decisions is certainly an effective way to go about it. We must rediscover the rewards of restoring, recycling, reusing our consumer goods, and in many ways, our differences are assets for achieving it. We need the contribution of all angles and all points of view for diversity is, after all, as tradable as an exchange currency.
It’s about time we all have these talking points about climate change down, because they’re facts and the sooner we grasp their significance, the faster we can track solutions. Just as it’s vital to keep in mind that tragedy on a global scale has the potential to bring mankind together.
Now, many may not be interested on that kind of talk because, first, they’ve got a financial skin on the game. And secondly, because their weaponry and macho displays are impotent against this kind of threat. Let them leave the room, as long as their power stays behind, with us.
Today, 9/11, is a day of sad remembrance in the U.S. It’s also a time to recognize how we’ve grown with this grief and how better we stand to become because of it. Contrary to bad reporting, there’s now more mosques in America than before 2001, and despite all emphasis on racial hatred, there’s more palpable compassion and understanding among the many nations that only want to peacefully coexist within the country.
For it’s not the minority represented by an increasingly troubled administration, or shouted loudly by its pathetic minions on the Web, what makes America to still resemble a beacon to the world. It’s those who genuinely work everyday towards a goal that’s bigger than themselves.
It’s the volunteers who flocked to flooded areas, even without proper IDs, to help save people, and at times, dying while doing. It’s the spontaneous groups formed out of extreme need, who show the world this is still a country formed on an ideal, not on demographics or an ethnic segment. It’s the anonymous bystander who jumps into the tracks to rescue a fallen commuter out of the path of an incoming train.
When the planes struck the towers, on that Tuesday in September, it was the people in New York, in the U.S, and all over the world, who got it, not the government, which only squandered the global solidarity that followed. They still believe we’ll not support gratuitous persecution, just because the president does. They still know we take responsibility, and we care for our wounded. They still get it, humans as we all are. WC

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