Even though it's important for all of us to change our light bulbs and the vehicles we drive, it's much more important to change our laws and policies. I drive a hybrid and we've changed our light bulbs and windows and installed solar panels and geothermal ground source heat pumps and most everything else. But putting the burden on individuals to solve this global crisis is ultimately not going to be the most effective way to solve it.
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If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world.
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Global warming, along with the cutting and burning of forests and other critical habitats, is causing the loss of living species at a level comparable to the extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. That event was believed to have been caused by a giant asteroid. This time it is not an asteroid colliding with the Earth and wreaking havoc: it is us.
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I've learned the importance of changing people's minds at the grassroots level so that whoever does run will have a much better chance of encountering public opinion that reaches a critical mass and brings about a change not only in White House policies but in the Congress and in the state legislatures and all around the world.
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The role of campaign contributions in our political system and the role of lobbyists have now reached levels that are quite unhealthy for the operations of our democracy. But the antidote, as in past eras of lobbyist excess, is for more involvement by citizens to build pressure on members of the House and Senate to serve the public interest.
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From wherever the emissions come, they have the same effect: They trap much more heat from the sun, melt the ice, raise the sea level, cause stronger storms, floods, drought, bigger fires, generate millions of climate refugees, destabilize political systems, threaten the growing of food crops and cause a number of other catastrophic consequences which, taken together, threaten the basis for the future of human civilization on the Earth.
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Now comes the threat of climate crisis - a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?
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The scientists are virtually screaming from the rooftops now. The debate is over! There's no longer any debate in the scientific community about this. But the political systems around the world have held this at arm's length because it's an inconvenient truth, because they don't want to accept that it's a moral imperative.
My plan to put Social Security in an ironclad lockbox has gotten a lot of attention recently, and I'm glad about that. But I'm afraid that it's overshadowing some vitally important proposals. For instance, I'll put Medicaid in a walk-in closet. I'll put the Community Reinvestment Act in a secured gym locker. I'll put NASA funding in a hermetically sealed Ziploc bag.
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The Himalayan Glaciers on the Tibetan Plateau have been among the most affected by global warming. The Himalayas...provide more than half of the drinking water for 40% of the world's population...Within the next half-century, that 40% of the world's people may well face a very serious drinking water shortage, unless the world acts boldly and quickly to mitigate global warming.
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A day will come when our children and grandchildren will look back and they'll ask one of two questions. Either they will ask: "what in God's name were they doing?" or they may look back and say: "how did they find the uncommon moral courage to rise above politics and redeem the promise of American democracy?"
The climate, financial and national security crises are all connected. They share the same cause: Our [the USA's] absurd dependency on foreign oil. As long as we need to spend billions of dollars each year to buy foreign oil from state-run oil companies in the Persian Gulf, our problems of a trade deficit, a budget deficit and a climate crisis will persist.
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Because these consequences are distributed globally, the problem masquerades as a distraction. Because the length of time between causes and consequences stretches out longer than we're used to dealing with, it gives us the illusion that we have the luxury of time. Neither of those things is true.
I'm not a psychologist, and I don't know how to play a more sophisticated role than the one that I have played for quite a few years, and that is spending a lot of time with these hard-working scientists in the various fields of expertise that relate to the climate crisis, learning as fully as I can the truths they are discovering, asking them to explain it in language that's simple enough for me to understand and then use that language to convey the essence of it, and then letting the chips fall where they may.
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