Sunday, October 5, 2014

Political Responsibility

The elections over the next two years will be critical for the future of humanity and the other species we share the world with. Government, as the cultural institution entrusted with providing the basic needs for a healthy, thriving society, needs to focus on dealing with the imminent and existential threat of catastrophic climate change, as one of several mechanisms reducing the habitability of our planet. The people we elect to manage our governments (especially here in the U.S.) will be responsible for providing that focus, and doing whatever they can to ensure the survival of people alive today, and improve the chances of survival for at least the next fifty generations.

With the stakes so high, we can't afford to have people in government who are ignorant of the threat, deny its existence, choose to ignore it, or prefer to actively make it worse. Given how little time is left to act decisively and effectively, such people will become literally murderers on the largest of scales; and by allowing them to serve, the rest of us will be complicit and very likely suicidal.

This isn't to say that government is the only determinant of our survival. All of us need to begin reducing our contribution to global warming greenhouse gases such as those used for energy (coal, gas, and natural gas) by at least 5% per year just to have a chance, albeit a small one, of avoiding the worst effects. We need to also reduce other activities that are killing off other species that help keep our planet habitable, such as appropriating land that they need for habitat. This will be a huge challenge, given that most of us are hooked on increasing happiness through domination of Nature, and doing the exact opposite to serve that purpose. As a prerequisite to meeting hat challenge, we need to at least acknowledge its existence and the value of meeting it; this is a test that should apply to all us, but especially our leaders.