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Where is the Moral Outrage for our Inaction Regarding Climate Change?

2012/12/30

After the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary school, calls for action regarding gun control have been coming from every direction.  This following commercial, I thought, was rather effective:

However, as I watched the video, I couldn’t help but think that they could just as easily have been talking about climate change.  Imagine if, at the beginning of the ad, it was a list of extreme and deadly weather events that occurred over the past few years.  Hurricane Sandy in the US.  The heat wave in Russia.  Flooding in Australia.  Flooding in Pakistan.  Typhoon Bopha in the Philippines.  The rest of the ad would still make sense.

I found especially relevant to climate change the part of the ad where the various celebrities tell the viewers to “demand a plan”:

Enough.  Enough.  Enough.  Demand a plan.  Right now.  As a mom.  As a dad.  As a friend.  As a husband.  As a wife.  As an American.  As a human being…  It’s not too soon.  It’s too late.  Now is the time.  Before we all know someone who loves someone on that list…  No more “If we had just done something yesterday”.  It’s time.  We can do better than this.  It’s time for our leaders to act.  Demand a plan.  Right now.  YOU!  DEMAND IT!

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not trying to downplay the severity of gun violence or the troubling nature of a man walking into an elementary school and shooting small children.  And I am not trying to minimize the necessity of addressing the cause of gun violence.

However, the threats posed by climate change are already so much greater.  We are already losing 400,000 people a year to the impacts of climate change.  Communities around the world have to make decisions about where they will live in the next decade because their homes are being overwhelmed by rising seas.  And looking into the future, the warming of planet could lead to more conflict (read: war) over basics like potable water and access to agricultural land.  Hundreds of millions of people are projected to become climate refugees either because of the permanent flooding of their homes, the lack of access to water or the spread of disease.  And, to make matters worse, we are already seeing that past models and projections were very conservative – scientists believe that climate change is even worse than we thought.

We are running out of time to stabilize our changing climate.  We are running out of time to protect future generations, in every nation, from the worse consequences of a warming planet.  And yet, where are the actors pleading for action?  Where are the national leaders going on TV, reminding us of our responsibilities as a society and vowing to address the problem?  Where is the moral outrage for our inaction regarding climate change?

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