Month 2, Day 6: The New (AAAAGH!!!) Senator from Massachusetts

Well, I may not have voted for him, but I’m sure as hell one of his constituents, and he’s sure as hell going to be hearing from me. This one goes directly to Scott Brown, but I’m cc’ing John Kerry.

Notice that I used two paragraphs’ worth of material from the letter I sent Hillary Clinton, back on January 13. I’m an environmentalist; I recycle whenever possible.

Dear Senator Brown,

Congratulations on your recent electoral triumph. I hope that you take the responsibilities of your office seriously, and recognize that while you may espouse a “conservative” political philosophy, that does not change the fact that you’re a senator representing one of the most liberal states in the country.

I’ve heard that you refer to yourself as a “Scott Brown Republican,” and that you’ve told the Senate Republican leadership that they should not count on you for a lockstep vote on every issue. Good for you. A lot of your constituents are in the “liberal/progressive” category, and you have a responsibility to them as well as to the people who voted for you.

Here’s a good way to start. Do some genuine research on the issue of global climate change. Contrary to what you may have heard on Sean Hannity’s program, global climate change is real; it’s a real threat, and the evidence is overwhelming that it has been caused by human activity. The fact that it’s snowing heavily in Washington, DC does not mean that the Earth isn’t heating up.

I understand that as a Republican and a conservative, you are interested in maintaining a healthy business sector, and consider it to be key to the continued growth of America’s economy. Oddly, as a liberal progressive, I believe the exact same thing. We differ, I suspect, in that I am interested in the long-term health of our economy (say, over the next two centuries) while you are more focused on the short term (businesses tend to measure success by the financial quarter, a three-month period).

If the worst-case scenarios of climate scientists come to pass, the Earth will no longer be able to support human life, which would surely be disadvantageous for the American business sector. I know, I know. They’re “worst-case” scenarios. But I ask you to consider two factors. First, the fact that when climatologists’ predictions have proven wrong, it’s almost always because they were too optimistic; every credible report on the state of the world’s climate comes out on the “worse than expected” side of the slate. Second, even if the Venusian “worst-case” scenarios don’t come true, the “almost-as-bad” scenarios are almost as bad for our economy and our business sector.

Projections of the sociopolitical effects of climate change include severe disturbances to farming economies caused by erratic weather, increased risk of near-apocalyptic fires in forested areas affected by severe heat, “water wars” triggered by drought and the elimination of glacial melt as a source for important rivers and aquifers, and, of course, the inevitability of millions of climate refugees, many in the world’s poorest nations. Definitely bad for business.

Add to this the increasing likelihood that oceanic acidification will profoundly affect the food chain of much of earth’s life, and the terrifying prospect of gigatons of arctic methane being released into our atmosphere and bringing a greenhouse effect of unimaginable magnitude, and the possibility of a planetary enactment of a Biblical apocalypse becomes disturbingly likely. While some Dominionists may view this as desirable, hoping for the Rapture is not a valid environmental policy.

So, Senator Brown, I hope that you can do some of your own research on this matter, and make a decision to vote rationally — in favor of strong and robust energy and climate-change legislation when it comes to the floor of the Senate. To fail to act in this matter is to leave our grandchildren a horrifying legacy: a planet burning and a population choking on its own waste.

Please, Senator Brown. Do the right thing, not the politically convenient thing.

Thank you,

Warren Senders

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