Saturday, April 29, 2017

Climate Change and Trump: 1359 Days To Go

100 Down 1359 To Go

My friends and yours stood in a bone-chilling downpour at the Federal Building this afternoon in downtown Chicago in affirmation of the importance of accepting climate change as one of the most serious issues we must deal with to save our future generations. 

I was called to work today, so I was unable to get down to the march. I know - poor excuse.

National Geographic, a significantly non-partisan group, issued a series of bullet points last month regarding climate change.

1.     The World Is Getting Warmer: “The heat in 2016 broke the historic rfecord set in 2015, which broke the one from 2014.”  Scientific instrumentation shows a nearly 2-degree increase in warming in this current century.  Current century?  That's 17 hears, People!
The images of the march, in wet and cold weather, prompted one of my co-workers to comment that it’s “cold for April, and that shows you are wrong on the whole climate thing.”  I countered that the graph of long term warming may show bumps and blips; however the long term chart indicates a serious warming which might adversely affect all of us. “Hell, I wish it would be warmer,” was the response.

An opening article in this month’s New Yorker by editor David Remnick takes up the entire section of Talk of the Town, normally a review of happenings and events around New York City and the arts, etc.   It’s worth a serious read.

More than an echo of an earlier and blistering  Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times regarding their concerns about a Trump Presidency, Remnick’s  piece is less a call to danger and a more prescriptive overview of what we all feel and face, and how we might politically push back. 

“On April 29th, Donald Trump will have occupied the Oval Office for a hundred days. For most people, the luxury of living in a relatively stable democracy is the luxury of not following politics with a nerve-racked constancy. Trump does not afford this. His Presidency has become the demoralizing daily obsession of anyone concerned with global security, the vitality of the natural world, the national health, constitutionalism, civil rights, criminal justice, a free press, science, public education, and the distinction between fact and its opposite. The hundred-day marker is never an entirely reliable indicator of a four-year term, but it’s worth remembering that Franklin Roosevelt and Barack Obama were among those who came to office at a moment of national crisis and had the discipline, the preparation, and the rigor to set an entirely new course. Impulsive, egocentric, and mendacious, Trump has, in the same span, set fire to the integrity of his office.

According the The National Geographic, we have since the 1960’s increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere by nearly 50%.  Imagine, if you will, a perfectly thickening plastic blanket being pulled over our planet, holding in our exhalations at the expense of cooling gases. Like other silly resolutions on plastic bags:  "Please use caution especially around children, material may cause suffocation."

Meanwhile, Trump has flown to Pennsylvania to engage in a self-absorbed reaffirmation of his office, one he finds sadly not as much fun and more difficult than he had ever imagined as a TV reality star.  His warm-up act – Vice President Pence – has started dropping his g’s and describing his “leader” as “drivin’ them nutz” like a face frozen version of Sarah Palin or an understudy of Bruce Rauner. Forget anything more than continued divisiveness from this Administration.  

In the Capitol today, the march for Action Against Climate Change (and Trump) brought thousands of protestors to the main drive into the Capitol Building.  See pictures:

3.     The first studies of global warning were projected as a positive by Swedish physicist Svante Arrhenius because coal burning “would help warm the planet.”  He saw this as a good outcome, but the debate is still on with those who will disagree with its deleterious affects. 

“There is frustration all around. During his first hundred days in office, Trump has not done away with populist rhetoric, but he has acted almost entirely as a plutocrat. His Cabinet and his cast of advisers are stocked with multimillionaires and billionaires. His positions on health care, tax reform, and financial regulation are of greatest appeal to the super-wealthy. How he intends to improve the situation of the middle class remains obscure. A report in Politico described thirty staffers holed up in a conference room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, attempting a “rebranding” of this first chapter of the Trump Administration. The aides furiously assembled “lists of early successes” on whiteboards.(Remnick)

4.     While we march in Chicago, “Arctic Sea Ice is Shrinking, and glaciers are retreating worldwide.  Seas could rise by three feet by 2100. – or maybe more.” 

One fellow in the crowd outside the Federal Building wore a Polar Bear outfit.  He seemed sad and somewhat resigned in the deluge of rain.  But as a legitimate Polar Bear, he might have expressed the same feelings as he waved forlornly.  The continued loss of sea ice will spell the loss of seals breeding on ice flats and an ability to survive in the climate for much longer.  The possibility that Trump might concern himself with the bleak futures for Arctic creatures like the Polar Bear or Harp Seal, or the many other hundreds is doubtful.  

“On Inauguration Day, at the Capitol, Trump no longer affected any awe of the task before him or respect for his predecessors. He furiously rebuked the elected officials seated behind him and the international order that they served. Using the language of populist demagogues, from Huey Long to George Wallace to Silvio Berlusconi, the new President implied that he, the Leader, was in perfect communion with the People, and that together they would repair the landscape of “American carnage” and return it to its prelapsarian state of grace. In this union, it seemed, there was no place for the majority of the electorate, which had voted for Hillary Clinton. African-Americans, Muslim Americans, Latinos, immigrants—it was hard to tell if Trump counted them as the People, too. More likely, they remained the objects of anxiety, fear, and disdain that they had been during the campaign. As George W. Bush was leaving the grandstand, according to New York, he was heard to say, That was some weird shit.’(Remnick)

Weather is wreaking havoc.  Climate related disasters have more than tripled since just 1980.

Thirty years ago, when we moved into our small house along the edge of a creek which became eventually another larger creek which ran along the southern edge of towns heading into the city, we were pleased.  Foxes birthed their kits in the hollows of our culverts, the wet weather that trickled along our creek invited many birds – wrens, chickadees and Coopers Hawks .  Once we had a rain that overfilled the banks and brought water streaming just past the footprint of our house. The old guy – now 90+ - who lived kitty corner from us said, “That’s a once in a decade flood, Neighbors.”  That was back in '87.  Since then, the monsoons have occurred more and more frequently.  We’ve have had four this past two months. 

6.     47% of species have vanished (are now extinct) as a result of warming affecting their range in this LAST YEAR!

I am buoyed that my friends and family resist this dark force residing momentarily in the White House:

“Trump forces us to recognize the fragility of precious things. Yet there are signs that Adams and the doomsayers of democratic values will be proved wrong. Hope can be found in the extraordinary crowds at the many women’s marches across the country on the day after the Inauguration; in the recent marches in support of science and a more compassionate, reasonable immigration policy; in the earnest work of the courts that have blocked the “Muslim ban” and of various senators and House members in both parties who, unlike Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, have refused to put cynicism and expedience before integrity; in the exemplary investigative journalism being done by traditional and new media outlets; in the performance of anti-Trump candidates in recent congressional races in Kansas and Georgia.”

7.     Trump and Pence may crow about bringing back coal, but the truth is more natural.  In the future, the people will deny and turn away from coal and fossil fuels, and instead turn to renewables.  The cost of solar and wind will become more and more economical and scientifically worthy – two areas in which neither Trump or Pence have any faith or comprehension.

We are jolted from one crisis to another – North Korea, Syrian blasted under Tomahawk missiles, a fence and no fence, a China enemy and then friend – we are subjects now to whims, many determined in the wee hours of the morning by a sorry child-man wandering alone in the hallways of an historical building, his children hired to help prevent his emotional outbursts from throwing us all into some disaster or, worse, a nuclear Armageddon. 


1 comment:

  1. Glen Brown brought this poem to the attention of several of his friends.
    Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

    Some say the world will end in fire,
    Some say in ice.
    From what I've tasted of desire
    I hold with those who favor fire.
    But if it had to perish twice,
    I think I know enough of hate
    To say that for destruction ice
    Is also great
    And would suffice.

    Believe it or not, when Trump obeyed the Military Industrial Complex by bombing Syria and threatening North Korea, this poem jumped to mind. North Korea could set off a screwed up nuclear bomb in its own country and merely be the catalyst for a Nuclear Winter. Simultaneously, climate change is beginning to cook us into extinction.

    We all face Death by Fire or Ice.

    Of course the TV brainwashed and the mass media addicts fear transgender people, Muslims in our shopping malls and airports, and the conspiracy to take Christ out of Christmas.