Living in strange times
To the editor:
I’m 67 years old, and I have lived through a lot of personal and political crises — not much surprises me anymore.
But in the past few weeks, I have been reflecting that the times we now live in are indeed very strange. Three observations increasingly appall me the more I think about them.
¯ Schoolchildren are taking to the streets to protest our theft of their future. Despite adults’ tendency to stick to “business as usual,” these kids realize what rising temperatures are doing to our planet and that those changes will eventually cause the extinction of human beings if we don’t address the climate crisis now. They actually believe what scientists overwhelmingly agree is true and what we are seeing with our own eyes.
¯ The president of the United States has given us the summary of a phone call in which he overtly pressured the head of a foreign nation to aid him in battling a political opponent. There is evidence of a widespread cover-up of this incident by White House staff. The president doesn’t think he did anything wrong, and most of his supporters agree with him.
¯ America has lost 30% of its bird population in the past 50 years. That news barely survives the 24/7 headline cycle. Meanwhile, the laws and regulations that protect endangered species and other wildlife are being rolled back, the U.S. is pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, and the federal government is attacking California’s efforts to reduce motor vehicle emissions.
Am I wrong to think that we, as a nation, are headed for catastrophe? And that we are incapable of figuring out how to avert it? I would love to be convinced otherwise. Maybe when those kids are running the place — if it’s not too late.