Avoiding Remorse May 21, 2009

WAMC FOR MAY 21, 2009

(Modified slightly from the WAMC Northeast Radio broadcast)

“On Avoiding Remorse”

Ever made one of those decisions you’ve regretted for the rest of
your life. One of those moments, when in retrospect, you simply
made the wrong choice. One of those critical seconds when you
could have turned one way or another, perhaps impacting your life
for years. I certainly have.

And of course as a scholar of world history I carry with me and
enormously long memory of such critical historical moments when
humanity forged new paths – sometimes for good, often leading to

Memories of that sad moment when the still relatively successful
Roman Republic just went too far, provoking Julius Caesar just
enough to push him to cross the Rubicon river –eventually turning
Rome into a dictatorship.

That moment when too many European leaders mindlessly made all
those little decisions in the summer of 1914 that plunged Europe
into the First World War. Those moments when all those American
leaders, JFK for one – decided so often with out deep thought to
walk us into Vietnam. Or in the summer of 2001 when George W.
chose not to focus on the warnings he was getting about an
impending terrorist attack.

But sometimes the warnings are obvious and the opportunity to act
positively quite clear. Like right now, in fact just this last weekend
as hundreds of committed volunteers from all over America and a
score of foreign countries. Literally from China and India to
Nigeria and France gathered in Nashville for the North American
Climate Summit organized by internationally respected Climate

And come they did. From famous environmental experts like
Canada’s scientist educator David Suzuki to the Nobel Prize
winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ’s
Director Dr Pachauri . And of course Al Gore who had organized
the effort to to study the most recent reports from Atlanta’s Centers
for Disease Control on the growing impact of climate change on
human health.

People who had come to learn how rising co2 induced global
temperatures are allowing tropical diseases to migrate farther and
farther north even as ailments from asthma to heart disease are
made worse. Traveled to study how dramatically every single rise in
temperature makes massive storms more and more common.

Learning how rising ozone levels, another by product of rising co2
apparently suppresses the human immune system augmenting the
power of allergens in the atmosphere. Listening to scientists from
Harvard and the Woodshole Research Institute explain that the
interiors of all the continents are drying out as moisture flows out of
the soil from Patagonia to the Gobi, from the American southwest to
Africa causing droughts that threaten critical international food

Learning that California’s entire agricultural base—food that all of
us depend on is deeply at risk. But those sessions were not merely
educational. Rather they were exactly timed to mobilize support for
what we should certainly be seen as America’s new Declaration of
Energy Independence – Congressman Henry Waxman’s new green
energy bill that is being negotiated even as I speak. The bill designed
to forge the infrastructure of a newer more efficient green energy
future even as it puts Americans, so devastated by today’s economic
downturn back to work.

Ok, sure it sounds like a no brainer. After all polls tells that 60% of
Americans support a clean energy future and prominent members
of both the Obama and McCain presidential campaigns have signed
on. But there are still plenty of folks out there still clinging to the
war provoking, climate damaging fossil fuel regime of the past.

People ready again, as many of them once were to convince us that
smoking could not possibly be a cause for cancer. Folks ready for a
fight which must be taken up by each and everyone one of us – each
ready to pick up our phone or whip out the old e-mail software and
tell our congressional representatives and friends that we support
Congressman Waxman’s efforts to build a new energy future for all

To make sure that each of us at this critical juncture knows that we
have acted in a fashion we can be proud of for years to come.

About Steven Leibo

This entry was posted in American Politics, The Climate Crisis, WAMC Northeast Public Radio Commentaries. Bookmark the permalink.

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