For millions of people around the globe – especially young people – the pressing issue of our time is this: The world is on fire! On fire with climate change, creating a new and intensifying norm of deadly weather extremes that make a dystopian future a distinct possibility – constant wildfires, rising seas, desertification, global crop failures, widespread hunger, water shortages, etc.
The chief cause of this global destruction is us, specifically, humankind’s massive extraction and burning of oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuels. So there’s a rising course of people shouting, “Fire!”
Our national government is rushing to the scene to put it out. Unfortunately, the president and his crew of fire-breathers in Congress are not directing the government’s hoses at the corporate extractors but at us – the people, the scientists, environmentalists and other activists who’ve dared to point to the flames and call for global action to stop the conflagration. They seem to think that the problem will go away if they can pretend it doesn’t exist, and that if they just ignore the protestors we’ll go away, too.
At a time when the U.S. should be taking the economic, environmental and moral lead in phasing out fossil fuel production, Trump and Co. is opening up vast regions of our oceans and wilderness areas to environmental plunder while simultaneously fighting our nation’s rational shift to a green energy future.
The good news is that people are revolting – in the very best sense of the term – against our corporate leaders’ rush toward climate catastrophe. Our hope is not in “leaders” but in ourselves – as it has been throughout American history. Creative and gutsy public protest has been democracy’s best friend.
Recently, I joined with others on Demers Avenue in Grand Forks to raise awareness for climate change. We held signs, placards that stated our feelings and concerns about our Earth. Many motorists honked in approval with many supportive gestures and shouts as well.
Our system must change. Apathy and passivity by us is inexcusable. We know there’s a better world out there, but we all need to get involved and demand it.