Weekly Column by Loretta Redd
I am sometimes tempted to take on a subject which may be a bit complex for a 700 word column, so forgive me while I address the end of the world. Not the end of our physical planet which will survive unless smashed to bits by some asteroid, but rather the end of the human species, as a result of our making earth uninhabitable.
An inner-galactic shift occurred last week as Dr. Richard A Muller, lead scientist at the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, and official climate change debunker inconveniently declared in his Koch-brothers-funded research that global warming is for real.
Though for most of us living in the environmentally correct land of California this declaration inspires a quark-sized yawn; for Dr. Muller, it is a dramatic reversal of opinion.
Misinformation travels faster through the portals of FOX News and its universe than the speed of light. Whether it was Sen. Inahofe of Alaska calling the existence of green house emissions “a hoax,” or Rep. John Shimkus (R-Il) of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, turning authoritatively to the Books of Genesis and Matthew to state for the record, ”The earth will end only when God decides…man will not end the earth,” their contempt for empirical evidence continues.
When planetary destruction dovetails with corporate expansion and regulation proves inconvenient and costly, the art of discrediting scientific findings becomes a common pastime for Republicans. And truth be damned if findings are contrary to what is needed as script during a campaign year.
Having successfully created a “muddled middle ground” where most proven theories go to die, the conservatives are unwilling to have anything obvious, undeniable or scientifically demonstrable prove them wrong.
So, to counter Dr. Muller’s unfortunate scientific conclusion, they recently trotted out Marc Morano, an authority whose name you might have missed in the annals of Scientific American or the Journal of Earth Sciences. Mr. Morano was former communications director for the Republican Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and producer for that Nobel Prize winning (any day now) bloviated bullhorn, Rush Limbaugh.
In a statement meant to discredit and debase, Morano said, “Dr. Muller will be remembered as a befuddled professor who has yet to figure out how to separate climate science from his media antics. His latest claims provide no new insight into the climate science debate.”
Straight out of the old Limbaugh playbook, if you can’t beat ‘em, destroy ‘em.
But Dr. Muller has only confirmed what scientists have been pointing out for close to two decades; that the earth is warming, and that this rise in temperature can only be explained by human-causes. So, what did we humans present to the world recently? It’s seven billionth inhabitant.
Happy Birthday and welcome to a planet with rapidly diminishing necessities of life, like food, water and breathable air. According to Richard Alley, author of Earth, the Operators Manual, we currently use close to half of everything the planet makes available.
But don’t use that as a reason to promote birth control, because we’re far too busy in this country as in equally backward nations ruled by tribal thinking, religious zealotry and male dominance, to genuinely consider the well-being of the unborn.
While our scientific environmental community converts even the most die-hard contrarians to the light of truth about population impact, a more entrenched battle continues of male seed over a woman’s body. Groups of educators, armed with the means to safely and effectively control pregnancy around the globe while saving us literally from extinction, are met with the same profit first, misogynistic superiority as what drives those who deny global warming.
The United States, of course, will be one of the last nations on earth to starve. Unless, of course, our gift of nuclear weaponry in the hands of bombastic egos and male insecurity wipes us off the planet early. Or leaders don’t get serious about science.
This year, neither presumed candidate for President seems to want to talk about climate change, with little wonder. Obama has made no progress on his 2008 promise to pass legislation on pricing carbon emissions with cap and trade legislation, and Romney has pledged to exempt carbon dioxide from the Clean Air Act.
While each party platform so far seems to want to ignore the issue of environmental assault, one party seems to have no problem attacking birth control, however, or the authority of women to utilize medical procedures to end an unhealthy or ill-timed pregnancy.
Barring another Great Famine or Black Plague, our population and its concomitant warming will continue, so that by 2100 there should be sixteen billion of us in competition for resources on this resilient, but not limitless, planet.
While the corn in Michelle Obama’s organic garden slowly withers on the vine from record heat waves, and Mitt Romney’s magic underwear hanging on a clothesline dries faster than ever before, we are invited by scientists of all political persuasions to get to work on saving the human species.
In the roughly three minutes it has taken you to read this article, 692 people have been born, 262 have died, and 143 tons of CO2 have been emitted. Go to: www.breathingearth.net to view our demise.