The Great Fear

Photograph Source: Ivan Radic – CC BY 2.0

I like to believe that a few powerful persons in the United States, including President Joe Biden, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, will break through their gentle suggestions for reform and start shouting on behalf of saving themselves and America from the climate giant in the room.

We are running out of time

Time is not with us. I see it daily. I see it in the enormous number of cars and trucks in the street adding a ceaseless stream of greenhouse gases reaching the heavens every day; I see it in the airplanes flying in the dark of night; I see it in the spraying of petrochemical poisons over the nation’s food; I see it over the continuing slaughter of billions of animals for meat.

The so-called animal farms, which imprison those doomed animals, are factories of diseases and pandemics as well as major sources for global warming. They emit huge amounts of methane and other greenhouse gases.

I see time is running out in the vast ignorance I detect in the public media. A few newspapers have published first rate articles summarizing the climate danger. But their reporting fails to wake up Americans.

Even among people who should know better (scientists, medical doctors, and university professors) many are in deep willful sleep. Only climatologists have been warning us to slow down and phase out fossil fuels – to no avail.

Daily temperatures of a hundred degrees Fahrenheit should be sirens of harm. That temperature is abnormal and dangerous. The government of Joe Biden should have declared a national emergency, even employing the armed forces to implement the advice of climatologists to get rid of fossil fuels as fast as possible.

Political swamp

Joe Biden, instead, is up to his neck with domestic crises, trying to improve the lives of underprivileged Americans, trying to assure black Americans that they are citizens, too. But he is trying in vain to convince Trump-like Republican politicians to support his legislative proposals. As if that swamp was not enough, Biden is now drowning in his decision to withdraw US troops from Afghanistan.

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His climate promises remain promises. The Wall Street is thriving on the stocks of petroleum.

Warnings

On August 9, 2021, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned policy makers time is almost up. It made its case that people are responsible for the climate tsunami around the Earth and around people. It documented its immediate and long-term dangers. Heat waves, fires, droughts, flooding, and rising sea levels are simply the preliminary penalties for allowing stupid and greedy people hooking humanity to fossil fuels.

Business as usual burning fossil fuels is certain death, foretold.

Despite these warnings and destruction visiting millions of people and billions of species in all countries and all the ecosystems of the planet, not much is going on to plan and execute a way out of the present and clear danger — and forthcoming calamity.

What do we tell our children?

This reality is disorienting and impossible to handle in a rational basis. Too many people appear to be walking dead from watching sugar-coated news shows, political events, the daily theater of the war between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, and listening to the fake promises of commercial religion.

They are brainwashed and powerless. They don’t understand that their “normal” lives are abnormal, a mirage of salesmen and dark-age preachers.

So, what are we going to tell our children and grandchildren? That we sacrificed their future on the altar of the petroleum lobby? Because that lobby was too strong? That we acted cowardly because of fear of death at the hands of fanatics? That we had to play the game of representative democracy with billionaires funding the Republicans — and not a few conservative Democrats — aiming to revert to the dark times of Trump?

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These ugly thoughts hint at the reasons why we are doing practically nothing on the face of an approaching global catastrophe.

Lessons from America’s pesticide disease

Like in the case of poisoning the food with neurotoxic and carcinogenic pesticides, and dong nothing to stop such an evil, the world stands frozen or dumb for even more harm.

While working at the US EPA, I observed how the EPA itself, its thick regulations and compromised science, make the traffic in pesticides legitimate and legal. Despite those revelations, I never understood the pesticide tragedy. It looked to me so clear cut, a crime of the pesticide companies in collusion with the EPA scientists and corrupt politicians. My lengthy experience at the EPA confirmed this corruption and opened the tragedy to include commercial and public television, radio, news media and most universities, including the land grant agricultural universities, and the medical establishment. All these institutions and organizations and people continue to give a free pass to this hideous crime.

The consequence of eating poison-laced food is a gigantic epidemic of cancer and neurotoxic diseases. Medical doctors are complicit in this national tragedy. They are becoming very wealthy from a society becoming increasingly very sick.

Rachel Carson and a few other scientists have warned America of the dangers of pesticides. I include my book, Poison Spring, as a warning. Yet, it seems, these warnings have had little if any effect.

Carson’s Silent Spring, published in 1962, was read by millions but those millions dared not take the book’s message to the halls of Congress and demand the phase out of pesticides. In fact, not even Carson demanded that.

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Americans who, like me, have had an understanding of what is at stake with eating poisoned food, have been eating pesticides-free organic food or grow their own food.

No organic climate chaos

With climate danger we are entering an unprecedented unknown. What we probably know is that, unlike the long experiment of eating pesticides-contaminated food, climate chaos is today’s and tomorrow’s danger. It’s so complex and unexpected with fast and deadly effects that no one now or in the future can reverse the storm.

Unlike pesticides, there’s no organic climate to protect even a few who have been struggling against fossil fuels and greedy politicians.

Nothing can save us but ourselves. Remove the explosive charge, fossil fuels. At the same time, and under wartime conditions, put to place solar power to give us light and energy — forever.

* Evaggelos Vallianatos is a historian and environmental strategist, who worked at the US Environmental Protection Agency for 25 years. He is the author of 6 books, including Poison Spring with Mckay Jenkings.

Photo: Ivan Radic – CC BY 2.0

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