Monday, November 7, 2016

I'm With Science, I'm With the Wild Places, and Therefore I'm With Her

Athabasca Glacier in Alberta, Canada
By and large, I avoid politics on my blog. I'm motivated in my writing to explore the beautiful places of the planet, and to enlarge our view of the geological forces that influence our lives. If you want the day to day political brawls I get involved in, you can find my Facebook pages, or Twitter. But here, on the eve of what I consider to be one of the most important presidential elections in my life, I need to talk about science. And the sanctity of our wild places. For all the arguments that could be made by the different parties for their respective candidates, there are some that have been largely ignored by the candidates and the mass media.

In my travels, I've seen directly the effects that global warming is having on our planet. I've seen the shrinking glaciers of Greenland (from above), and in Alberta, Canada (from the ground-see the picture above). I've been privileged to see the world's greatest coral reef complex, the Great Barrier Reef, which has been severely damaged by warming waters. It may die out in our lifetimes. I've seen the death of millions, perhaps billions of trees in places like Aspen, Colorado, and in Sequoia National Park, brought about by drought and the attack of boring beetles.

I've read the research of climate scientists, who have been documented the devastating changes we are causing on our planet for many decades. The science is clear, and the science is alarming.
Drought-killed conifers in Sequoia National Park

I've seen the deplorable actions of our elected officials, who protect corporations and prevent our conversion to a carbon-neutral society for purely political reasons. Because the science does not conform to their preconceived political beliefs, they have set our society back by decades. Market forces are slowly bringing changes that are lessening our addiction to oil, but they should have been encouraged decades ago. There is so much that we could have done. It is a tragedy that will haunt our children for generations.

So, we have a choice to make tomorrow. We can choose a man who has proven too lazy to actually read the science. Depending on those who whisper things in his ears, he decries climate change and global warming as a Chinese hoax, despite the fact that we have been living through the hottest years ever recorded. He says there is no drought in California. He suggests that he somehow knows more about climate science than people who have actually taken the trouble to educate themselves, and to get actually get degrees in science. On the other hand, we have a woman who is smart enough to learn the basics of climate science, and who listens to those who know more than she does about what has to be done. She has plans and proposals that could make an actual difference.
Small coral reef in Fiji

There are so many arguments that could be made in regards to the candidates for the presidency. We've spent (wasted) a great deal of time on peripheral issues that don't mean much in the bigger picture, and there has been some discussion of important issues like the place of the United States of America in the world, and our response to global challenges like Russia and terrorism. Those issues are indeed important, and I found my choice easy to make on the basis of the statements and actions of the candidates in those areas. But climate change and global warming are one of the greatest challenges facing not just the USA, but of citizens of the entire world. We need to have a president who understands and appreciates the need for action, and not one who denies the problem exists in the face of all evidence to the contrary. For that reason, I have voted for Hillary Clinton, and though I know that many minds will not be changed in the next 24 hours, I will hope you will consider these issues as you vote tomorrow.

1 comment:

Charles Caldwell said...

Ditto here. Americans need a president who'll protect our public lands and use science to make the right decisions. I'm with her, too.