Election 2016: Battle Against Climate Change

Dante's Stages for Hope in Battle Against Climate Change

Election 2016 has turned into a dismal affair of mainstream cliche, repetition, hyperbole, and mud-slinging. Neither Trump nor Clinton offer much hope, and this is tragic when one considers the high stakes concerns (changing climate, climate refugees, dwindling resources, job opportunity, transportation costs, housing relocations, etc.).

According to the National Geographic, our pace of industrial development, air pollution, and consumption will contribute to rising sea levels that will engulf much of the low-lying southeastern beaches by 2060. Even a 2-foot rise will cost hundreds of billions of dollars to remediate; how can we even prepare for this when we can’t reach a consensus on raising taxes to help pay for new homeless shelters?

With Senator Bernie Sanders out of the race, the two-party presidential candidates can blithely avoid constructive dialogue about this and other critical interrelated issues such as resource wars, drought, waves of refugees, nuclear disarmament, disaster preparation, etc.

This could be why at Room Eight, a comparison between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton resulted in a sardonic observation: both are [deadbeats] from the Woodstock generation.

AGN‘s “Battle against Climate Change” schematic illustrates why this election matters, particularly with regard to climate change, which arguably, will have dynamic impacts just a few decades away.

It illustrates how an accelerated path towards hope for humanity could place us above targeted changes predicted by international scientists. Are we heading for mass extinction or will we be able to stave off the demise because we planned for disasters adequately in advance?

How far off the bull’s eye of target setting will our planning land us depends on the current national direction. Will we be miles away from even being able to develop potential solutions when the time comes?

Maybe this diagram will spur people to think about what should be readily transparent yet isn’t; how easy it is to praise the trees for the forest; or why decadence is preferred over truthful nonconformity:

  • We are controlled or inhabited by our possessions, mortgages, and debts
  • We are prone to manipulation by who we associate with
  • Limits on time: the ideal worker works 24/7, leaving inadequate time for exploratory reading such as alternative news
  • Older retirees faithfully stick to the mainstream media and popular magazines, unwilling to explore new sources
  • Students are guided towards databases supposedly offering balanced coverage, and inundated with complex information tending to sideline larger, important questions.
  • Those outside the main track are encouraged to wallow in ignorance, by engaging in escapism

Is it any wonder that we are sinking into Chris Hedges’s “inverted totalitarianism” in which self-censorship and societal pressures and group-think prevents us from practicing democratic rights?

My diagram, modeled after the stages of Dante’s Inferno and Paridiso, contrasts what is possible if we really dare to hope to battle the inevitable challenges of climate change.

Dante's Stages for Hope in Battle Against Climate Change

We can conquer the behemoth of effects, from temperature, to rising seas, to dwindling trees and water, fossil fuels, endangerment of ecosystems, with attending effects in agriculture, in commercialism, and coupled with expanding overpopulation, if we really begin now.

In fact, each stage towards hope remains to be fully developed and discussed, whether it includes community health, malnutrition, civic action, pro-social development, sharing real information, etc.

So go ahead, share this with your friends, your coworkers, your teachers, your community of learners, and embellish, discuss, or elaborate on what all you can do to genuinely address this greatest of challenges in the 21st century.