Climate change has never been a headline story. But it’s always just below the surface… or maybe it’s better to say, it’s always been right up there. New York’s Jeri Fink is a climate activist and wants to take action against those who deny climate change. She says in this Boomer Opinion piece, she wants to make them extinct.
Ah, the good old days.
A few times a week, a white truck with blue writing ambled down our street in Bayside, New York. The Dugan’s Man, smiling at the kids, would leave a pile of baked goodies at our doorstop. That was after The Milk Man left glass bottles of cold milk and The Seltzer Man heaved ancient wood cases of thick, faintly-colored bottles of seltzer that we drank instead of sweet soda.
The cupcakes grabbed me. They were topped with dollops of sweet, colored frosting that had the awful habit of jumping into my mouth undetected, leaving naked cake behind.
Every week I would deny I had anything to do with it.
Not me. Never me.
Everyone knew. But denial can be a beautiful thing. If you do it long and hard enough you might convince yourself it’s truth.
Psychologists see denial as a way to handle reality-– if it doesn’t exist, then it doesn’t matter. Denial gets dangerous when people use it to eliminate reality— like climate change deniers. That’s big trouble for all of us.
Climate change deniers dismiss increasingly severe storms, floods, droughts, and fires. They ridicule science. The Guardian calls the U.S. a “hotbed of climate change denial,” reporting that America has more deniers than any other country except Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
Think of infamous climate change deniers like Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who burned the “lungs of the planet”—– the Amazon Rainforest— to raise cattle. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s denial arguably contributed to 2.5 million acres destroyed by fire, dozens of people dead, and the loss of nearly a billion animals, including beloved koala bears.
Our climate change Denier-In-Chief is doing his best to keep up with his buddies— putting profit and power before people and planet.
Mr. Trump is famous for his claim that climate change is a “Chinese Hoax.” He opens public lands to drilling and mining, supports the fossil fuel industry to the detriment of others, and rolls back critical environmental protections.
When we’re not looking, Trump builds a wall to protect his golf resort in Ireland against rising seas caused by climate change.
The president has refused to spend nearly a billion dollars allocated by Congress for clean energy projects, grants, and financial assistance. According to the website Gizmodo, he not only held back funds but “canceled a $46 million program for solar research and development.” The Orange Man in the White House claims to know more on the subject than 97% of the world’s scientists.
In his State of the Union speech, Mr. Trump announced that he will protect the environment by joining the “One Trillion Trees Initiative… to plant new trees in America and all around the world.” At the same time, he promotes logging in Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre Tongass National Forest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in North America.
Mr. Trump comes to us compliments of the fossil fuel industry. Exxon/Mobile knew for decades that fossil fuels create climate change and gave millions of dollars to denier organizations and lobbyists— along with BP, Shell, and Chevron.
We’re victims of decades of political lobbying, misinformation, and denials of proven scientific evidence. Climate change deniers are the minority who control us, the people who call young hero activists like Greta Thunberg “mentally ill” or, after writing two books and countless blogs about climate change, they call me a “commie left-wing propagandist.”
Your legacy is gloomy as you watch melting icebergs, rising seas, and greenhouse gases increase. Ironically, it costs less money to mitigate climate change now than deal with the inevitable disasters later. Who cares? Deniers have a lot of dough to replace the cupcakes at their doorsteps.
Change is coming from the grassroots. Millions of individuals, organizations, and leaders around the world are defying the deniers.
Elders for Climate Action, Extinction Rebellion, Greenpeace, Sierra, and many others are being heard. Savvy politicians are adding climate change to their platforms. Individuals like you and me are eating less meat, rejecting one-use plastics, and driving hybrids.
Join to make sure that your grandchildren will know the purple mountains, blue oceans, and lush forests we love today.
Let’s make climate change deniers extinct!