Year 4, Month 11, Day 29: ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ……

Sheldon Whitehouse, mensch:

In the annals of congressional oratory, it didn’t rival Sen. Rand Paul’s 13-hour filibuster in March over drone policy. But last Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse marked a major milestone of his own — and one welcomed by environmentalists — when he delivered his 50th weekly address on climate change from the Senate floor.

Whitehouse gave his first “Time to Wake Up” address in April 2012. He has returned to the floor every week the Senate is in session to stand before C-Span cameras and shine the spotlight on an issue he says has been alarmingly neglected.

“I am here for the 50th time to urge my colleagues to wake up to what carbon pollution is doing to our atmosphere and our oceans,” he said at the outset of his speech. “Why do I do this? First because it’s real, it’s very real, it’s happening.”

He then turned to charts at his side to present evidence of increases in Earth’s surface temperatures.

In an interview before his speech, Whitehouse explained what motivated him a year and a half ago to launch the approximately 15-minute climate talks.

“I wanted to raise the profile of climate change. We had basically stopped talking about it and the climate-change deniers’ point of view really doesn’t last very well in the daylight,” he said. “It shrivels up under scrutiny. It does better in the dark and we were, I thought, cooperating by allowing the dark to shroud the issue.

Versions of this letter have had remarkable success over the past year or so. November 18:

Two hundred and thirty-eight years ago the Minutemen woke to a midnight alarm and became part of our nation’s history. Responding to the calls of Paul Revere, these patriots helped usher in a new nation, conceived in liberty — while powerfully demonstrating the usefulness of early-alert systems. Now, in the face of a craven political establishment and a lazy media, even more urgent warnings are coming from the world’s climatologists — and from a few unbought politicians like Sheldon Whitehouse.

The accelerating greenhouse effect, if unchecked, will bring incredible damage to our civilization: disrupted agriculture, rising sea levels, huge loss of biodiversity, and extreme storms like Haiyan (Filipinos don’t need reminders of the dangers of climate change).

While the public’s attention is diverted by phony scandals and nubile starlets, a latter-day Revere tries to wake us. Will we listen to Senator Whitehouse — or punch the snooze button once again?

Warren Senders


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