Climate change is happening now and much faster than anticipated.
(Sir Robert Watson, former chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)
The Arctic is a principal, global driver of the climate system and is undergoing an unprecedented rate of change with consequences far beyond its boundaries.
(David Grimes, President of World Meteorological Organization)
So the American voter wants change?
Possibly one of the world's largest ice avalanches, which contained some 100 million cubic meters of ice and rock, occurred in western Tibet this past July. Glaciologists are not yet certain why an entire “glacier tongue” would collapse so quickly and violently. The glaciers of Central and South Asia, including Tibet, have the largest reserves of glacier ice outside of Antarctica, Greenland and Canada.
As mentioned previously, an international climate goal is to keep temperature rise under 2 degrees Celsius. The current reality is, however, that the Arctic, which makes up 4 percent of the earth's surface has already risen some 4 degrees Celsius. Climate scientists believe that if we don't take far more serious measures, temperatures will certainly rise to 1.5 degrees C by 2030 and quite conceivably 2 degrees C by 2050.
Yes, stuff could happen—in our lifetime. Permafrost could melt in the tundra (where it used to be cold all the time) releasing more carbon dioxide—and methane—making what we call feedback loops an unpleasant reality. Ocean currents could change and weather patterns might begin to vary a lot, with extreme weather events becoming the new reality.
This time you might want to stop living in flood plains and do not expect the government to bail you out citizen. Massive die offs of plant and animal life could occur, along with water wars, forced migration of millions of people across the globe, famines and no more exotic vacations for the privileged and the wealthy … get the idea?
My fellow Americans, ignorance is not bliss, right here in “River City”
Watching the recent presidential debate, I was surprised by the amount of revulsion I felt toward Donald Trump, in my opinion the most unqualified presidential candidate in modern history, but I do not consider him merely an ignorant, narcissistic carnival barker. History offers far too many examples of seeming buffoons and charlatans seducing the citizenry, taking power and then wreaking havoc.
We are being told by assorted pundits that the demographic group designated “millennials,” some 75 million souls, ages 18 to 34 dislike or are uneasy about voting for Hillary Clinton and she could lose the election if she does not get their support.
If you are a 34 year old millennial right now, in 2050 you will be 68 years old and some of you will presumably have children and grandchildren. If you are 25 years old you will be only 59 in 2050. Donald, Hillary and a great many of us will be long gone 34 years from now.
You forget the Greens and the Libertarians
I'm doing my best to definitely forget about Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, the nominees for the Green Party and the Libertarian Party. It is a wasted protest vote. Jill Stein appears to live in a world of illusion and seems to have little understanding of political reality, how the political system actually works and how people actually make decisions.
Then there is Gary Johnson, a seemingly nice guy who needs to brush up on world events before running for the presidency of the United States. But perhaps even more important in a diverse, continental sized country with more than 300 million people, libertarian, free market claptrap is the last thing we need in a world with climate change, demographic increases, global trade, nuclear weapons and a host of grown up issues requiring collective action.
Wishing is hardly enough
My personal wish list includes such things as universal health care, the repeal of Citizen's United, national gun legislation that reflects a 21st century world, criminal justice reform, reducing livestock farming (a global warming disaster), free college education, a genuine progressive income tax, intelligent cuts in the bloated defense budget, increasing funding for our national parks (one of the greatest public policy successes in our history), a large scale infrastructure program and above all, an actual commitment to fighting climate change.
I'm going to vote for Hillary Clinton without reservation, not because she ignites my passion or guarantees my wish list, but because she is capable of the “change” so many Americans claim that they want. Of course the change comes when we who profess the need for that change actually organize, educate and vote at all levels all the time over the long term.
Finally, there is the definition of what “change” means. I have a pretty good idea of what Donald Trump's most passionate supporters mean by change.