What do the current world disruption from the coronavirus and the climate crisis have in common? The worst effects of both are much more horrible than they would be if responsible leaders had paid attention to early warnings and had planned ahead for how to avoid the worst.
So I am especially distressed to learn of plans to proceed with construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to carry the dirtiest of Canadian tar-sands oil into and through the United States when we are experiencing – firsthand and in real time – drastic consequences of not paying attention to science.
Public-health experts have warned of the likelihood and necessity to plan for these kinds of pandemics; likewise, physical scientists have been telling us for decades what will happen worldwide if we proceed with fossil-fuel business as usual. If we disregard the solution – keeping fossil fuels in the ground and hugely deploying abundant renewable energy – and if we don’t plan ahead to mitigate, global disaster is certain.
Our leadership fails us when we most need it. What a pity that the political establishment has dissed government for years, when actually it should be our freely elected government that keeps us safe – and not just militarily.
We have elections this year and also a census. Both are vital to our democratic form of government. Both require full and fair administration and budgets that are adequate to the job.
One may doubt that these conditions exist; the coronavirus crisis distracts; and those in power seem to care most about reelection. Across the country, countless citizens have lost their right to vote by questionable means. Nevertheless, we have to hope. And we who can vote must vote!