Earth from Space

I do not like to talk about politics here unless they affect the environment or free speech or freedom of and from religion.  But I listened to the Romney speech last night and was appalled to hear no mention of concern for the endangered world environment, but also appalled to hear this backward-facing part of the “Romney Plan”:

First, by 2020, North America will be energy independent by taking full advantage of our oil and coal and gas and nuclear and renewables.

We can see where the emphasis comes in that and what it means:  a planned huge expansion of the extraction and use of the fossil fuels (with consequent huge amounts in the coffers of the oil, coal, and gas companies) that are already destroying huge tracts of land, polluting our air, and damaging and poisoning the water table.  And of course there is nuclear energy with its deadly radiation lasting thousands of years, a toxin which humans do not have either the infallibility or the life span to keep under control; and, as we saw from the Fukushima disaster, humans can be expected to make mistakes — disastrous mistakes — and the world should be moving away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy as quickly as possible, given what is happening to the worldwide climate.

The second appalling thing I heard was this:

President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet. MY promise . . . is to help you and your family.”

What Romney fails to recognize is that slowing the rise of the oceans and healing the planet are critical to the future of all humanity — to all families — and we see with each passing year the great danger into which global warming due to excessive use of fossil fuels, etc., has thrust us (and certainly we have not heard nearly enough on that topic from the present administration, let alone the necessary practical actions).    It threatens not only our food sources due to drastic climate and weather changes, but it also has the potential to alter ocean currents and dry glacier-fed rivers, with disastrous results for massive numbers of humans.

In this election campaign so far, I have heard almost nothing of real substance from either side about global warming, the coming water crisis, or increasing pollution of our air, soil, and waters.  And of course that pollution is not coming from the U.S. alone.  I do not think one can find a river in the western part of the United States that is not polluted with traces of air-borne mercury from the burning of low-grade coal in China.

Where is any talk in either party, this election season, of cutting down on driving and use of gas?  Where is any talk about increasing the use of bicycles and yes, walking?  Where is serious talk about the urgency of taking practical action on climate change before it reaches the point where nothing can be done at all to modify the severity of the coming changes?

Quite honestly, I am disgusted with both parties.  I grant that the Democrats may at present be the (slightly) lesser of two evils, but on the whole the American people, in modern election campaigns, are astonishingly subject to the most foolish and often dishonest propaganda, and have let politicians get away with sound bites and spin and avoiding dealing with facts and the truth for so long that it has become the nature of American politics.  It is a rare TV journalist who will doggedly insist that a politician answer the question asked, rather than allowing him to veer off into prepared, irrelevant verbiage that has as its only purpose the evasion of answering a question directly.

The writing of hokku is based on Nature and the place of humans within and as a part of Nature.  If there is no concern for Nature — no realistic view of it, no genuine love for it, no seeing it as the fountain and enabler of life, no desire to protect it, then not only will hokku die out completely, but the prospects for continuing human civilization do not look much better.  There have been previous great extinctions of life.  Given that Americans seem to want to use the last drop of oil rather than changing their lifestyles, the prospect for another mass extinction is looking more and more possible.

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