21 July 2009

138 Days to Go - Compassion for the Children

On one single page of New Scientist of 27 June 2009, I came to realize that our compassion really needs to be (first, felt, and then) directed towards our children.

Did you know that 1 in 3 children aged 6 to 11 in an American poll said that they are afraid the Earth will cease to exist before they grow up because of global warming and other problems?

Sad but not surprising that children understand the urgency of the climate change issue — and feel it deeply. And don't argue that the Earth itself won't cease to exist. We are destroying the biosphere for practically all life, which is the equivalent of ceasing the Earth's existence — especially in a child's eyes.

Then, at the end of an opinion piece on the same page ("Methane First, OK?" about tackling methane as a serious greenhouse gas), a professor of global environmental health at the University of California, Berkeley, writes: "This fruit [stopping methane emissions and leaks] is low-hanging, ripe and heavy with immediate benefits. Helping to pick it also means I can tell my grandchildren that, yes, I did do something to directly protect the planet."

Dear Professor: Your grandchildren don't want to hear that you did "something" to protect the planet. They want to know that you did everything you could to save the planet, and their future. And oh, when you say, "Reducing livestock ... would require changes in consumption" and toss it away as an immediate solution to a large percentage of methane emissions because there are other "fixes" that "do not directly threaten lifestyles," are you saying that lifestyles are more important than life? Are you admitting that you're not willing to give up meat as a gift to your grandchildren?

And beside that on the same page, Bjorn Lomborg (court jester cum bigmouth climate change urgency skeptic) is quoted as saying, "The current debate about global warming is clearly harmful. I believe that it is time we demanded that the media stop scaring us and our kids silly. We deserve a more reasoned, more constructive, and less frightening dialogue."

Oh dear. Poor Bjorn just doesn't get it. It's not the debate on global warming that is harmful! It's the bloody global warming itself that is harmful!

He and the other deniers have wasted the most important 20 years in the history of humanity. He is definitely on my list for crimes against humanity.

When this man calls for a dialogue that is more reasoned, more constructive and less frightening, it must mean he is going to start shutting up. Because he, with the others, has confused much of the developed world with his unreasonable, destructive and very scary denialist crap, instead of helping us get on with solving the crisis.

Please, let's hold the welfare of the children in our hearts at every step in this — yes, terrifying, dammit! —journey to salvation.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?