Give or take a year or two, the Industrial Revolution began in earnest in Great Britain during the last decade of the 18th century. So, a mere 227 years ago on planet Earth, a relatively small-sized but somewhat unique, rocky world circling a comparatively small star at 4.5 billion years of age, the human species started to add significantly to naturally-occurring air, water and soil contaminants, rendering them often-dangerous to the health, even survival, of many living creatures.
Then, in the waning years of the last century (mainly the 1980s), humankind began to notice that human activity was causing so much pollution in every way that it was calculated as inevitable that, should the waste and wantonness continue, there’d be no certainty the planet would, before long, due to climate change and a multitude of other threatening conditions, allow its “smartest” species to survive, homo sapiens dating back by fossil-finds some 200,000 years.
Down close to the present time, there have been fits and starts among the nations of the world to try to bring to a halt, or even, if possible, to reverse, the serious threat to the air, water and soil for plants and animals on the planet. This concern resulted in the Paris climate agreement, co-signed and adopted by 195 nations on December 12, 2015, to mitigate and control greenhouse gasses, scheduled to officially get underway in 2020.
Now, President Trump has announced that the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement, joining Nicaragua and Syria, originally unable to sign. However, the nuts and bolts of the agreement, more accurately the money and power behind its rejection here, have most to do with the fact that America’s powerful corporations and super wealthy multi-national business interests, who can make or break Trump financially, are those to whom Trump now bows. American billionaires like Carl Icahn and the Koch Brothers can’t wait for the Trump administration to gut climate and pollution controls at home and abandon international sanctions abroad so they can get back to drilling wherever they please for crude oil and other fossil fuels currently restrained by some environmental regulations.
Meanwhile, Trump supporters, his “core base” of voters who seem always to agree with him, commonly believe he’s pulling out of the climate pact because he believes climate science is a Chinese hoax. These same folks, including coal miners, oil-drilling roughnecks and others in declining blue collar American industries, view him as working in their interest to place them back to their former jobs. What’s going on here in employment opportunities, however, now and into the foreseeable future, look to disappoint many of those for whom Trump made promises. Meanwhile, serious persons seeking real work futures are advised to study U.S. labor market information and thereby seek education and training in career-vocational-technical schools and programs.
The sovereignty and cohesion of America has been threatened multiple times but appear at present under greater strain from within and outside than ever before. Ripping up a global climate agreement fulfills the aspirations and determinations of the corporate interests and wealthy entrepreneurs among us whose apparent need to make more and more money trumps all other considerations. In the mean time, the masses want to protect their loved ones from a planet gone totally-exploited for the sake of big bucks, with no care for the continuation of a livable world.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)