Year 4, Month 3, Day 31: The Kids Are Alright

The Seattle Times notes WA Governor Inslee’s commitment to issues that genuinely transcend politics:

OLYMPIA — There was a telling moment just before Gov. Jay Inslee raised his right hand and took the oath of office.

He was introduced as a politician who sees climate change as “an existential threat that transcends politics.”

“More than any other president or governor before him, Jay has an electoral mandate on this issue,” Denis Hayes, organizer of the first Earth Day in 1970, told a packed audience in the rotunda two months ago.

If lawmakers did not grasp the significance of those remarks then, they do now.

Inslee talks about climate change all the time. He discussed it in his inaugural address, during most of his news conferences, when introducing a bill on the issue in the state House and Senate, even in announcing his choice for transportation secretary.


Still, not everyone was expecting so much, so soon.

“I think there are greater, more pressing priorities at the moment,” said Senate Deputy Republican Leader Don Benton, R-Vancouver. “I think we need to look long term, and do little things that add up over time that will benefit and help the climate-change situation and the environment. But they are long-term strategies.”

Well, add Don Benton to our list of dingalings, I guess. March 19:

Of course State Senator Don Benton thinks there are more important things “at the moment” than climate change. Of course he’s ready to advocate “little things that add up over time” that may help us address what he charmingly calls the “climate-change situation.”

There will always be more pressing short-term issues than climate change, because even a steadily accelerating greenhouse effect is going to offer consequences on a time-scale larger than that of electoral politics. While there is no magic bullet that will fix the burgeoning climate crisis any more than there is a pill to cure lung cancer, this fact simply reinforces Governor Inslee’s sense of genuine responsibility.

That the climate “situation” is vastly larger than the problems usually preoccupying our politicians is no reason to dismiss it. There may be more important things at the moment — but climate change is not an issue of the moment, but of the millennium.

Warren Senders


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