Of the four inescapable realities that Republicans are forbidden to acknowledge, climate change is by far the most lethal. After so many millennia of expanding dominance, nature has set a trap for us that we are uniquely ill-suited to avoid.
Climate change takes all of the cultural and technological adaptations we have so successfully incorporated and converts them to a deadly weakness. Now, unless we find a way to collaborate as a species in a manner we have never accomplished before, the natural world will, within an extraordinarily short blink of time, remake itself in ways likely to wreck much of what we have built.
Last year was the hottest on record, again. The last serious scientific dissent over the basic mechanics of climate change faded out twenty years ago, but the problem remains near the bottom of major lists of public priorities.
Carbon pollution is so perfectly designed to defeat our finest strengths as a species that it almost suggests that nature wants us dead. It is invisible to our senses. It emerges at a pace too slow to detect by any means other than science. It mimics a feature that occurs naturally – climate fluctuation. It arrives at a moment when we’ve achieved unprecedented global wealth and freedom through highly individual cultural structures, and demands an intensely collective, collaborative response.
This is how evolution operates. Each disruptive new accomplishment by a species triggers a natural response that brings forth new, more difficult challenges. The more dominant a species becomes, the more daunting the next threat to its existence. We will adapt or we won’t. Ironically, adapting to climate change requires a fine understanding of another of the four inescapable realities Republicans are forbidden to acknowledge – evolution.
There are good solid proposals available that would help us wean ourselves off of carbon fuels. We have technology available that could allow us to ride out or even mitigate much of the damage that will emerge while the Earth absorbs the carbon we’ve already released. That is perhaps the most frustrating element of this problem. We have solutions available, we just lack the cultural adaptations necessary to implement them.
Perhaps as Miami becomes America’s Venice, public opinion will start to shift. Maybe not. Miami already deals with the regular occurrence of what’s called “sunny day flooding.” We’ll see.