Year 1, Month 1, Day 10: To a Local Paper

Very tired; very spaced out. Wife & kid were on their way out to a dance class and the car battery died, so this one was composed in the short interval between scrambling around with jumper cables and the arrival of a student.

Anyway, it went off to the Arlington Advocate, a local newspaper. We’ll see.

UPDATE: They’ll only publish letters from Arlington residents or businesspeople. So I’ll send it along to the Boston Globe this evening.

Polls suggest that a significant proportion of the American people “don’t believe in global warming.” This represents a tragic failure in education and a tragic failure in communication. In the wake of Sputnik, science education in America became a national priority and we collectively accomplished wonders; in the wake of Reagan and the rise of the evangelical movement, science has been downgraded and degraded, and we collectively remain oblivious to a looming disaster. Our inability to understand the scary facts of global climate change is also a failure of imagination: surrounded by exhortations to “live for the moment” and reminded daily that “it’s all about YOU,” Americans cannot conceive of a multi-decade interval between cause and effect, cannot imagine that the tragedy of climaticide will affect them in any way. Our politics, our media, our educational system and our economic system are all contributors; this is a perfect example of a systemic problem.

Unfortunately, we are running out of time. The failure to achieve a meaningful climate treaty in Copenhagen and the unwillingness of science-ignorant senators to act on climate-change legislation may be the precursor to a “perfect storm” of devastating magnitude.

Warren Senders

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