My turn failure to act will be devastating columns dailyitem.com electricity magnetism

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While I am thankful for the Linn Conservancy’s showing of the film “Chasing Coral,” I left the Campus Theatre with a feeling of deep distress. While I have been aware of the increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the resulting climate disruption for more than two decades, the visual experience of the movie hit me on an emotional level I could not have expected. I have expressed my concern about climate change many times in the past, but I feel a renewed obligation to continue to do all I can to protect the life of this planet from the coming crisis headed our way if we don’t act.

The film presented unquestionable evidence of climate disruption and the catastrophe that is happening now in the warming oceans of the world by showing us what is happening to coral reefs. I have been aware of the bleaching and death of reefs due to unusually warm ocean temperatures, but the time lapse images of the coral reefs going from healthy, beautiful corals to bleaching and death in just two months impacted me in ways I could not have expected. If you think it doesn’t matter if coral reefs die, think again. They are essential habitat for the breeding of many fish species. Coral and their reefs are the keystone in an entire ecosystem. Take away the keystone and the system collapses. How many of the human species will perish when their sustaining food vanishes?

Maybe the fact that my wife and I watched the film with our 12-year old granddaughter impacted my reaction to the film. While the impacts of climate change are already evident and destructive, she, along with all her peers, will be impacted by the full devastation resulting from the dumping of our greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

As individuals we have a responsibility to act to protect the future of those who will follow. Our political leaders have a constitutional and moral obligation to act to protect the “general welfare.” Any political leader who is not working to alter our current direction regarding climate change is negligent in serving the public. Denial of the overwhelming evidence is willful ignorance and negligence in office. The deniers have willfully demonstrated their unfitness for office.

It is a very sad comment on our country that the single biggest predictor of an individual’s acceptance or denial of climate change is political affiliation. It is distressing to know that for political ideology and greed, the political right has taken an issue which should be based on scientific evidence and turned it into a political football. The overwhelming evidence of climate change has been examined and weighed by the scientific community and it has come to a consensus on man’s activities and climate change. It is the politician’s job to take the best evidence that science can provide and act on those conclusions. It is their responsibility to develop policy based on the evidence.

The highly regarded thinker and writer, Noam Chomsky has written that the Republican Party is the most dangerous party in the world. It is the only major political party in the world which does not accept the evidence of climate change. We are now the only country in the world, thanks to President Trump, which is not a supporter of the Paris Climate Agreement. Humanity faces two existential threats, nuclear war and climate change.