BY GARY EDMONDSON
Last week featured the annual Perseid meteor shower, so named because the meteors appear to originate in the Perseus constellation.
The standard version of his story shows Perseus as one of the first dragon-slayers, saving a damsel in distress – Andromeda, chained to a rock – from becoming the hors d’oeuvre for a sea monster.
Saving such damsels was once a going concern among heroes. It was an honorable calling, one that needs to be reinstituted.
Mother Earth is in danger, threatened by human monsters whose cancerous greed pays no heed to the consequences of their polluting policies.
By continuing to kowtow to corporate dirty donors, Greed’s Own Party, the Trump Environmental Poisoning Activists and others of their ilk threaten the habitability of the planet.
In June, Daily Kos reported that the U.S. spends “10 times as much on fossil fuel subsidies as they do on education.”
Of course, education is the least of the worry for some children. Last month Common Dreams reported, “Babies born near oil and gas wells are up to 70% more likely to have congenital heart defects.”
That came the day after The Huffington Post noted, “EPA refuses to ban pesticide linked to brain damage in children.”
And by the first of August, The Hill was reporting, “EPA proposes easing air pollution permitting process.”
Local effects are damaging enough, but globally we get an even more ominous picture.
In excerpts from an essay picked up by Huffington Post, Catherine Ingram points out, “CO2 levels are higher than they have been for the past three million years. In the last decade, our carbon emission levels are the highest in history, and we have not yet experienced their full impact … We are now in the midst of the sixth mass extinction with about 150 plant and animal species going extinct per day … most people still don’t realize that we humans are also on the list.”
Mark Sumner of Daily Kos had a June story headlined, “Climate crisis could bring the end of human civilization by 2050.”
Why can’t these folks just shut up and let the oiligarchs reap their polluted profits in peace – or ignore such evidence as this in early August from Jessica Corbett of Common Dreams: “An analysis released Tuesday warns that 17 countries which are collectively home to a quarter of the global population face ‘extremely high water stress’ that is on track to get worse – particularly because of the human-caused climate emergency.”
National Public Radio reported in August, “If the world doesn’t address climate change, there could be a global food crisis. That is the warning in a new U.N. report examining food production and global warming. The window to address the problem is closing.”
And back home? Politico found, “The Trump administration has refused to publicize dozens of government-funded studies that carry warnings about the effects of climate change.”
That UN report also pointed out that protecting rain forests is crucial to mitigating climate catastrophes. But the Trump Trade War threatening the world economy has also inspired Brazilians to step up rain forest clearance in order to supply China with the soy beans they won’t be buying from U.S. farmers.
But this column is about fighting to protect Mother Earth and her offspring.
On the world stage, our leader is a 16-year-old girl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, who recently “thanked” the head of OPEC for calling climate change crusaders the “greatest threat to the oil sector.”
She is en route to address the United Nations via a low-impact racing yacht.
Ms. Thunberg has already announced she sees no use in wasting her time talking with an American president whose economic priority is to prop up the fossil fuel industry.
Over in Barcelona, Magalí Datzira sings, “Mother Nature, Mother Earth, give me power to make them live.”
On the national stage, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is one of the main proponents of some version of a Green New Deal.
Looks like some damsels in the post-Xena, post-Buffy, post-fighting-Disney-princess era are not waiting to be rescued, but are taking action themselves.
And there are many men at the barricades with them – many for many years. The monsters of ignorant greed must be defeated if people are to succeed.
How evil are these monsters? Commenting on Ms. Thunberg’s trip, Arron Banks, a UK insurance tycoon, tweeted, “Freak yachting accidents do happen in August.” And, of course, Banks immediately told the BBC he was just funning, because it’s so funny to hope a 16-year-old girl might drown in the North Atlantic. I didn’t realize Titanic was a comedy.
Last week, Stephen Colbert joked that some men consider it “unmanly” to use recyclable tote bags. But in the days of yore, jousters would tie scarves and sashes of their fair ladies to their lances and armor as they joined the lists.
Our totes can be seen as our badges and banners as we ride into the fray against the Apostles of Ignorance and Disciples of Greed. If we don’t defeat them and save Mother Earth, she won’t be able to sustain us.