Climate change is real.
Global warming is real.
We now know that much of the world‘s populated area will be uninhabitable within 50 to a hundred years due to rising sea level and temperatures . Climate change means that life as we know it – food supplies, industries, economies, geo-political boundaries, floods and fires, violent weather, social norms, laws and enforcement – will be drastically altered.*
Of the many important social, economic and political issues that need urgent attention, moderating the effects of climate change is the largest, most challenging and dire. The habitability of the planet is truly at stake. The lives of our grandchildren are at stake, whatever their race, gender, nationality or social class.
We might be able to moderate much of the catastrophe if we take drastic action now.
That requires a leader who has the wisdom, the knowledge, the courage, the will and the skill to mobilize the nation as did Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1933.
THE GREEN NEW DEAL**
I WAS BORN IN 1935. I grew up in the time of Roosevelt’s New Deal. My memories begin around 1942. I remember neighborhood fathers and sons away for “the duration.” I remember gasoline rationing, savings bond drives, synthetic rubber tires, oleomargarine instead of butter and a strong sense of acceptance and consensus, even pride that we were all working together to end the war.
THE NEW DEAL
The market crash in 1929 and the devastating drought on the central plains created a national disaster – The Great Depression. In the early 30’s President Roosevelt and a Democrat majority in Congress created a national mobilization that they called The New Deal. It included many new laws that created social programs to feed and house unemployed people, subsidized family farms, set price and wage controls, consumer protections, established social security, funded huge infrastructure projects, empowered labor unions and prohibited monopolies. The country was united in order to solve a major crisis.
Then in 1941, as The New Deal began to have its effect, the USA entered WWII. The government required various industries to retool and manufacture war equipment – ships, tanks, airplanes, munitions, etc. Natural resources were appropriated for the war effort. Gasoline, food, consumer goods were rationed. Everyone was employed. Corporate profits were taxed and citizens were asked to buy War Bonds – loan money to fund the war effort. This same war effort also led to the GI Bill which funded education and housing for the people who had served in the military during the war.
This gigantic, coordinated effort brought the country out of the depression and set up a period of prosperity that lasted for many years beyond the end of WWII.
Within 20 years of the end of the war, corporations began to reassert their power, slowly and methodically rolling back the consumer protections, tax codes and controls on corporations created as part of the New Deal, leading to the income and power inequality we are experiencing today. Public policy is now dictated by big businesses whose primary product is profits. Preserving the habitability of the earth is way down their do-list.
PRESERVING THE HABITABILITY OF THE EARTH IS A CRISIS WAY BEYOND THE GREAT DEPRESSION AND WWII.
IT CAN BE DONE. IT MUST BE DONE. NOW.
*For an authoritative estimate of the effects of climate change check:
**Check out THE GREEN NEW DEAL on wikipedia