Year 3, Month 10, Day 27: Both Candidates Will Eat A Live Bug, On National Television

By the time this shows up on the blog, the last presidential debate will be in the past. Maybe my letter will have been rendered irrelevant. In any case, as I type this, it’s Saturday, October 20, and the LA Times notes that climate activists are still trying to get somebody (anybody!) to ask some damn questions:

With just 2 1/2 weeks left before election day, there’s an urgency on all fronts in the presidential race. For activists, it’s not just about whether President Obama or Mitt Romney will win, but whether either man will pay attention to their issue.

Perhaps no interest community has been as disappointed as those who worry about global climate change. They have repeatedly called for more attention to the issue and, for the most part, failed to get it.

This week’s presidential debate prompted a new round of regret and demands for Romney and Obama to address the topic, as both candidates spent their most notable time arguing about how much coal they would extract from federal lands.

“Both President Obama and Gov. Romney maintained the silence on climate, again ignoring the growing roster of extreme climate-change induced weather events,” said Maura Cowley, executive director of a consortium of youth-oriented groups called the Energy Action Coalition. “As young voters, and the generation with the most to lose if we don’t address the climate crisis now, we demand both candidates break the silence on climate change by standing up to big oil and gas with ambitious plans for clean energy.”

A political application of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis helps us understand why it’s nahgannahappan. Sent October 20:

Monday’s presidential debate will focus on foreign policy, which ought to provide a perfect opening for questions about global climate change. After all, the accelerating greenhouse effect transcends national boundaries, affecting all life on Earth equally. Furthermore, rising planetary temperatures and increased extreme weather will have humanitarian and geopolitical consequences, often in areas with a long history of conflict. It’d seem that our rapidly transforming climate is an essential subject in any discussion of foreign policy. Why won’t it happen on Monday?

“Foreign policy” as a field is concerned precisely with national boundaries — those human abstractions which surging atmospheric CO2 counts make irrelevant. The hard truth is that America (and the rest of the world) must rise above the narrow strategic concerns which have preoccupied us for centuries. Climate change is a global problem, not a “foreign” one, and there is as yet no scheduled debate on “planetary policy.”

Warren Senders

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