To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, March 4, 2021

Observercast

First Priority: Earth

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With the departure of the banditti leading the previous administration, four years of orchestrated greed, graft, golf and ill-governance have come to an end.

Now, we have President Joe Biden, a moderate Democrat, who will try put our ship of state on an even keel – and make it welcome again in ports around the world.

Biden has a huge task ahead of him. The greedheads worked tirelessly to make the wealthiest among us ever richer by destroying as many protections as the past 60 years of bi-partisan concern has enacted.

Biden will have help – specialists in particular fields to replace political hacks favoring the corporations they were supposed to regulate. There’s a lot on the plate, and the Russian asset in the White House made the transition as messy as possible, the damage ever more damaging to the country he swore to protect – liar that he is.

Anyone really surprised that there was no pandemic plan?

A first order of business must be undoing the environmental damage the past administration caused. We have one Earth. Destroying it for short-term profits will destroy its inhabitants, people included.

Recognizing this, on his first trip to the Oval Office, Biden set into motion our country’s return to the Paris Climate Accords.

In December, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres bluntly said, “The way we are moving is a suicide.” In an interview in The Nation he added, that “humanity’s survival will be ‘impossible’ without the United States rejoining the Paris Agreement,” as reported by Truth Out.

In late December, Science Daily reported that a study from McGill University found, “The threshold for dangerous global warming will likely be crossed between 2027 and 2042 – a much narrower window than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s estimate of between now and 2052.”

Early that month a joint Huffington Post and Greenpeace UK report reminded us, “[H]eat waves kill more people than any other weather disaster.”

Those dire warnings still must take into consideration that “millions of tons of organic carbon and methane beneath the Arctic Ocean thaw out and ooze to the surface each year. And climate change could speed up this release of greenhouse gases, new research suggests,” according to Live Science.

In December, Common Dreams’ Jessica Corbett wrote, “More than 250 scientists and scholars from 30 countries have issued an open letter calling on policymakers to ‘engage more with the growing risk of societal disruption and collapse due to damage to the climate and environment.’”

War-torn uninhabitable habitats have already spurred mass migrations. If the land itself cannot support life, even more people will move.

Another Biden first day decision was to cancel authorization for the Keystone XL pipeline, which has generated much gnashing of teeth in the Oklahoma oil patch. But if the fate of Earth’s climate depends upon reducing greenhouse gases, discouraging petro-chemical dependency is a necessary step.

Also on the platter, “Biden will inherit hundreds of toxic waste Superfund sites, with climate threats looming,” according to a story prepared by Inside Climate, the Texas Observer and NBC News. “The EPA’s program for cleaning up the nation’s hazardous waste dumps has a backlog of sites that lack funding – the largest in 15 years.”

Again in December, Corbett added, “[T]he Environmental Protection Agency … finalized a rule that critics are calling a last-minute attempt to ‘sabotage’ future efforts by President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration to tackle the intertwined climate and pollution crises.

“Capping off nearly four years of [the last] administration working to roll back over 100 environmental and public health protections in the service of corporate polluters, the new rule changes how the EPA calculates the costs and benefits of new policies on air pollution under the Clean Air Act.”

Those changes, of course, favored the polluters at the expense of the health of Americans and other Earthlings.

While some of us might not be around 20 years from now, our heirs will be. The Earth we leave them determines their future and our legacy.

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.