Get Invoved with WCTM:

Terrorism and Climate Change

W. C. Fields is reported to have said “Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” The sentiment fits the current public and news media focus on terrorism as the critical public issue and underestimating the threats all of us face from climate change. The Republican presidential candidates to a man (and one woman) criticize President Obama’s efforts to stop the worse climate change effects. They shout that Obama should focus instead on the more important issue of terrorism, even as Obama is in Paris with tens of thousands of world leaders and citizens who acknowledge climate change and are working to diminish its damages.

The much greater death rate from drunk driving in America gives some perspective. In 2012, over 10,000 Americans are estimated to have been killed in drunk driving crashes. Drunk drivers have a similar ability to strike out another’s life unexpectedly as does a dedicated, deliberate terrorist, and the drunks do so with much greater frequency than the intentional terrorists. The news media and the rest of us focus on sensational events like unsuspecting people being randomly killed by a fanatic consumed by religion or by a nut.

Terrorism, like crime, has always been with us and will continue into the indefinite future. A “war” on foreign (read radical muslim) terrorism is like a “war” on crime, both not totally winnable, both fighting what is deeply ingrained in human history and both distractions from issues evidenced by the accelerating deterioration of the planet’s natural systems. Timothy McVeigh, a decorated U.S. Army veteran who gave no advance warning by his religion, ethnicity or known politics, blew up a federal building in Oklahoma a few years ago and killed 200 people. Last week another American killed three, including a police officer, in suddenly attacking a Planned Parenthood facility. Humans are aggressive and often not nice to each other; such violent, seemingly random terroristic killing likely will continue so long as man inhabits the planet. Many terrorist attacks will not be preventable even with the best intelligence operations and with strong police and military actions.

American leaders have had outstanding success in denying climate change and in refusing to do anything about the coming storm, a storm which is painfully obvious to climate scientists and to disinterested, attentive laymen. Regrettably, public attention is mesmerized by sensational events which impact relatively few people, and people pay less heed to climate change effects which endanger everyone. That reality makes it more likely that modern man’s unsustainable burdens on natural systems will persist until Mother Nature does her own, non-political corrections. That may or may not be a time when this good Earth changes enough so she no longer supports humans in large numbers.


Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Newsletter