We've Been Warned - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1721030

We’ve Been Warned

Rather than denial and political inertia from the Republican Party now in power, what if we had acted immediately on what our science community understood and warned us about the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?

The resulting health, economic and social distortions could have been delimited, and we might now not be facing the terrible long-lasting effects of that stubborn denialism.

Well, it may be that COVID-19 is an unfortunately dark, albeit resolvable, prequel to the vastly more all-encompassing and dangerous “monster in the garden”: global warming. It’s that dangerous and just that close.

We have understood and been warned by the basic sciences of global warning for over a century. We understand the long-term consequences, the advancing irreversible tipping points: melting polar regions which cool our planet, desertification of global farmlands, dying coral reefs, ocean pollution, acidification and “hot zones” that toxify its organic life, impairing its carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen generation.

We’ve been warned of rainforest destruction, loss of permafrost ecosystems, methane spikes, rising sea levels, ubiquitous record-high global temperatures, year-round multiple mega-hurricane systems, fires in the Arctic, fire tornadoes, fires everywhere, evaporating freshwater supplies, drought, famine, war … We have been warned of this global climate emergency.

Lacking a collective carbon conscience and oblivious to long-term consequences, we continue, blindly, pumping heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, rapidly drawing down our allowable carbon emissions budget, which at this rate will be dangerously overdrawn in less that 15 years. By then, we may have lost control, with tipping points falling like dominoes unfolding into the unimaginable horror of a planetary “hothouse,” with all the anticipated dystopia.

Like the pandemic warning this year, we have been warned of the years still to come.

The time is calling for radical dependence on science. We have the knowledge and technologies to meaningfully overcome the climate challenges, which actually can ultimately improve our lives. We have the science but not the will for what is demanded of us now to literally save the very life-sustaining capacities of our planet.

Facing a global climate emergency, with high risks and little time, we need science, expertise and wise, brave leadership. Our voices in government must soon be guided by alert visionary science, making smart, science-based decisions.

Let’s fire Lee Zeldin (R), whose dismal environmental record earns him a dreadful 13 percent positive lifetime enviro-score from the League of Conservation Voters, and elect Nancy Goroff, Ph.D., who will represent the 1st District consciously and undertake the heavy lifting of crafting the complex actionable policies needed to meet the enormous climate challenges we can’t now reasonably deny.

We’ve been warned.

James Ewing

Water Mill


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