How Long?

So here we are, on this tiny speck of star dust, the only speck in the whole universe, so far as we know, able to support life, and we have to wonder how much longer that will be true.

We used to say that this is the only speck of stardust able to support intelligent life, but that seems not to be the case already.

For the people trying to clean up their homes after the floods in Colorado, there are more immediate tasks to deal with.  For the people in California whose homes went up in smoke, there’s the question of whether to rebuild or move.  For folks on the Jersey shore, there’s the question of how far inland to move to be out of the way of the next storm.

For farmers in Vermont who balance the budget with the maple syrup crop, there’s the question of how early they will need to tap next year to catch the run – and if it’s already two or three weeks earlier than it used to be, when will the maple trees in Vermont no longer have enough cold weather to produce a crop at all?

I remember the story of the man caught in the flood who turned away the rescuers who came to his door to take him to safety.  “I’m saying my prayers,” he said, “and the Lord will take care of me.”  When they came to his second floor window with a boat, he said the same thing.  And when they came over with a helicopter to take him off his roof, he still said the Lord would take care of him.  So when he died and went to heaven he went straight to the throne with his complaint: “Where were you when I needed you?”  And the Lord said, “I sent a rescue team, a boat, and a helicopter; what more could it do?”

So what in the world is our leadership doing to respond to the signals being sent?  Ignoring it.  Hoping it will go away.  Denying the scientific facts and the evidence on all sides.

I hope to move to a safer place before time runs out but I worry whether my grandchildren will be able to tread water.

I read last week about a millionaire in San Francisco who is using his money to oppose the pipeline being projected to bring Canadian oil down through the Nebraska corn fields to Texas.  If they build the line and it breaks, it could wipe out the aquifers that keep the cornfields in business.

But what about the other millionaires and billionaires who seem fixated on keeping their tax rates low?  They spend millions to elect politicians who would rather sink the economy and take food stamps from the poor than take constructive action on any one of the critical issues we face.

What sort of man or woman, raking in over a million dollars a year, puts their luxuries ahead of those on food stamps?  What is the thinking of a billionaire who fights for lower taxes while the signs of climate disaster multiply?

I get appeals every day to contribute to a campaign to control campaign spending, raise environmental standards, elect someone intelligent to Congress and sometimes I send them a dollar or two.  More often I sign their petition but send no money.  I literally can’t send more and still pay my bills.  But unless a few more of us cut back even on necessities to make more of a difference, how much longer will this speck of stardust remain an inhabitable island?

1 Comment

Velma DoughertySeptember 19th, 2013 at 12:03 am

This is a wonderful article with which I agree wholeheartedly. My mail is full of requests for donations and petitions to sign, but instead of taking care of favorite charities involving children or animals, as I used to, I find I have to donate to things our government should be taking care of, like the environment, spending money on ways to keep our air, water and food safe, and preventing dangerous things like that pipeline from being built. The rich only seem to be interested in getting richer at the expense of everyone else.

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