It’s time for the U.S. government to get serious about global warming
Take it from an ice cream guy: If it’s melted, it’s ruined.
That’s why we have to stop global warming now. We’ve only got one atmosphere; we can’t wait to take action until the damage is done and air pollution has forever changed our planet’s delicate environmental balance. Earth Day reminds us that if we want to preserve our world for our kids and all the generations to come, the time to act is today.
That is common sense, of course, but some politicians just don’t seem to get it. Nonetheless, most of them love Earth Day, because it gives them a chance to go plant trees with photogenic kids. Then it’s back to the office, where most politicians do nothing on behalf of the environment and a whole lot on behalf of corporate polluters.
How often have you heard a Beltway politician declare himself or herself an environmentalist — and then assert that we don’t have enough facts on the table to justify legislation to regulate the greenhouse gas emissions that fuel global warming? If our government were really paying attention to the science — and to the voice of the people — the U.S. would have passed laws to control global warming years ago. The true majority of Americans wants to prevent pollution and protect our planet and our own health.
Instead, politicians are listening to money talk, in the form of campaign contributions from oil, coal, and automobile corporations. Trouble is, these corporations’ only real interest is in maximizing short-term profits.
Global warming is one of a constellation of issues that the true majority of Americans cares deeply about, but to which the response of this administration has been stonewalling, lip service, and half-measures.
Despite what these corporations would have you believe, global warming is not the inevitable price of progress. Rather, it is the cost of failure — the failure to respect our interdependence with all of nature; the failure to understand that effective controls can be placed on capitalism without undermining the entire system; the failure to recognize that our campaign finance system leaves this administration and most of Congress beholden not to people but to corporations — and the failure to act to change that.
The true majority of Americans wants to work with the people of other nations. Americans know that international cooperation, not isolationism and obstructionism, is required to protect the environment — just as diplomacy and integrated global action is required to fight terrorism. In both cases, the message is simple: Global problems require global solutions.
The U.S. should be taking the lead in bringing together the world’s people, under the United Nations and elsewhere, to work in unison to solve international problems. Instead, America is acting as an obstructionist nation. We refuse to sign an international ban on chemical and biological weapons. Ignoring massive international pressure, we decline to sign a ban on landmines. We won’t even join a United Nations effort to establish an international criminal court.
And, of course, we back out of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce global warming, even while most of the world’s nations are signing on.
In guiding our nation down this lonely path, our president is saying to the rest of the world that America is the biggest, baddest bully on the block.
Our citizens now have no choice but to raise their voices.
But how? On the national level, politics is all too often confusing and alienating, so it’s tough to know how to make yourself heard. One way is to join the One Sweet Whirled campaign, in which Ben & Jerry’s is partnering with the Dave Matthews Band and SaveOurEnvironment.org to make it incredibly easy for citizens to make their views heard in Washington. Another way is to become involved with the True Majority, which I founded to filter through the political muck, identify the most important developments, and help citizens make a difference, using email and requiring only a couple of minutes per month.
The True Majority stands behind 10 basic principles:
- Attack world hunger and poverty as if our life depends on it. (It does.)
- Champion the rights of every child, woman, and man.
- End our obstructionism to the world’s treaties.
- Reduce our dependence on oil and lead the world to an age of renewable energy.
- Close the book on the Cold War and end the nuclear nightmare forever.
- Renounce Star Wars and the militarization of space.
- Make globalization work for, not against, working people.
- Ensure equal treatment under the law for all.
- Get money out of politics.
- Close the gap between rich and poor kids at home.
The True Majority has been endorsed by organizations ranging from Greenpeace to the United Nations Association. A long and growing list of citizens have joined.
The world is already feeling the effects of global warming. Now it’s time for the folks in Washington to feel a different kind of heat — the heat from the true majority of citizens demanding that our government work to reverse human-induced climate change now.
Get Grist in your inbox