What a long strange road it has been. In the 2008 presidential election John McCain ran on environmental issues and spoke forcefully against climate change. He ran ads that showed belching smoke stacks and melting polar ice sheets. He was regarded as having stronger environmental credentials than Obama. In 2016 President Trump ran as a climate change denier yelling fake news at everyone who had a differing theory. How did we get here? The NYTimes has a fascinating story to tell in their article “How G.O.P. Leaders Came to View Climate Change as Fake Science.” To that I would add how the GOP—which knows better—is for political reasons coming dangerously close to transforming America from the world leader into a disgrace against humanity by denying climate change and applauding our abdication from the Paris Accord.
A majority of elected Republicans believe climate change is real and that mankind needs to do something about it. The problem is that climate change has become an irrational litmus test for the GOP, and as long as it remains a diatomic litmus test we will never be able to work together to avert one of the greatest crisis humankind has faced to date. There could be a lot of hungry mouths to feed as the climate landscape shifts and our world population continues to grow and too much farmland becomes wasteland… and most of those hungry people will have guns… and will understandably want to eat. This is an all too familiar historical recipe for warfare and pandemic disease, and no one will be safe from the fallout.
In some of my novels I suggest that humankind has many times risen to great heights only to fall into ruin. The history of modern humankind, homo sapiens likely goes back as far as 400,000 years. This means that for as long as 400,000 years we have been walking around with very much the same brain and body that we have today.
Written history has us going from making tools by banging two stones together to going to the moon in less than 10,000 years. What about the other 390,000 years of our history? I find it hard to believe that we dull-wittedly walked around banging stones together for 390,000 years and then out of the blue in the last few thousand years invented everything. No, I think we have rebooted, risen and fallen many times for many reasons… and I think we may be on the cusp of doing it again unless we learn to work together for everyone’s betterment, or everyone will lose.
Darwin valued cooperation over competition and theorized that species that cooperated evolved and flourish while species that competed more than cooperated went extinct. I know we can do better than this… We need to think beyond our own selfish material needs… We need to become the world’s steward, not its pillager.