Month 12, Day 28: Beginners’ Luck

The Contra Costa Times runs an article highlighting the work of a climate delegate from the Cook Islands. At the time I wrote this letter, there was but one comment on the article, a pitch-perfect version of the teabag denialist mentality.

It is true: Americans have been protected from the increasingly severe ravages of climate change by the luck of the geographical draw. It’s also true that Americans are insulated (but not protected) from the facts of global warming by a complacent and lazy media that prefers the ease of he-said/she-said stenography to actual reporting and factual analysis. At least the first part of this equation is going to change in the decades to come, as the consequences of the greenhouse effect are felt ever more on the North American continent. As to whether our news and communications systems are up to the task of informing Americans about the nature of the emergency we face, we have good reason to be skeptical. Looking at the contorted rationalizations of climate deniers in the public, in the media and in our politics, it is harder and harder to believe that our country’s citizens can recognize the crisis before it is too late. The citizens of the Cook Islands do not have the luxury of ignorance; for them, the rising waves have already arrived.

Warren Senders

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