Most of the time, we go about our business, grappling with the joys and challenges and griefs close at hand in our circled world. A child has a stomach flu and can't get to school. A spouse got pissed off and left without a normal kiss goodbye. The recycling never made it into the trash cans.
All politics is local, don't they say? And, of course, on the other hand, the personal is the political.
Well, Chile isn't down the road from Glenmoore, unless you extend the meaning of the word "road" to embrace North and South America. But, with profound respect for the immediate grief and horrible loss borne by survivors, I took that earthquake very personally.
And, I submit, perhaps you should, also. And the snow in the South, the earthquake in Haiti, and the wild weather in France. Not to mention this.
We tend to polarize on the right and the left of issues like climate change -- and give in to the many corporate and political interests who would like to see nothing happen. But asking people to make individual decisions in the interest of a healthier environment, while it's great, is by no means enough.
First of all, it's such a Western, first-world concept -- people who are freezing aren't going to care that they need to burn down a tree to stay warm for another day. They might care if someone offers them an alternate way to stay warm.
Second of all, individual choices aren't going to swing the balance back to environmental health. It is going to take a decision by world leaders in places like China (and, of course the US) that a healthy environment is in our political and economic interests.
Climate change skeptics criticize scientists for arrogance in the way they articulate the data on global warming.
Fair enough - And they also attack scientists for making mistakes in a recent global report on science change. But the fact is that these mistakes were essentially irrelevant to the data, which is overwhelmingly on the side of climate change.
And as I stood in the shower last weekend, I shivered. The question seems to be now, not when will the politicians wake up and smell the coffee, but: have we left it too late?
What happens now may be out of our power to fix... and as a mother, I feel like it is time to raise my voice -- for to be silent means to be complicit.
UPDATE: Here's another URL for the methane situation.