Egad! The bright and shiny objects of the week are, once again, any news relating to Donald Trump.
In the so-called “Age of Distraction,” Trump IS the distraction. From wall-to-wall coverage of the impeachment hearings to breathless headlines about “today’s” tweets to tut-tutting over the latest executive order (He is not anti-Semitic!), Americans glut themselves on all things Trump.
This week is only the latest example.
There is the omnipresent coverage of the impeachment hearings (The Democrats are for! The Republicans against!).
Thursday, we could feast on reactions to his comments about Greta Thunberg being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” (Trump bullies sixteen-year-old!).
Daily, we could peruse news flashes about his latest abominations (Trump moves to cut disability benefits! Trump cuts food stamps! Trump calls FBI “scum!”).
Unfortunately, almost hidden by this Trumpian avalanche is the most important event of our lifetime, a mere tip of its iceberg visible above the orange-hued snow in which it lays buried.
That iceberg is the climate crisis.
While all government and much of our population chains itself to the latest and greatest, brightest and shiniest Trump revelations of the day, that crisis worsens. . . and worsens.
And nothing gets done.
Sea levels slowly increase, islands get swamped, populations become displaced, animal species grow extinct and our own regional climates warm up, dry up and become less predictable and more volatile.
Climate change is not going to happen. It has happened and continues to happen. . . for the worse.
Meanwhile, our government does nothing except exacerbate it.
And our citizens remain hypnotized to the point of inaction by the orange shiny things that swing daily across their eyes.
One of the apocryphal stories of history is that of Rome going up in flames while Emperor Nero fiddled.
Rome did burn, but it is unlikely that Nero ever fiddled for the simple reason that there were no fiddles in his day.
However, the story makes the important point that bad things can happen when people pay them no heed and, instead, “fiddle” away their time.
Collectively, that is what we are doing—fiddling while Rome burns.
Democratic office holders, or most of them, would like to act, but we hear precious little from the major presidential candidates who battle instead over Medicare-for-all and the other candidates’ business ties.
For their part, Republican office holders remain in the grossest form of denialism while greedily accepting money from fossil fuel interests.
Even worse, most of the public, no matter whether they identify with a party or are steadfastly independent, pay little but lip service to the issue.
However, if you like your seashores, mountains, existing species and more predictable, calmer weather, you might turn from the shiny orange things that try to dominate your attention and do something to address this crisis. Really, virtually anything.
Below are a number of sources that give different vantage points as to what your options for action may be. They range from running for office yourself to buying more fuel-efficient vehicles to using your washers and dryers more effectively.
The point is to do something because the world does depend, in part, on you.