An aching heart is the result of daily news reports that, while my government ignores the fact-based warnings that climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effect, no matter its name, means that, if we continue as we’re going now, it will not be possible for the human species to survive within a few decade’s time. A threat to all living things, President Trump, with help from U.S. Senate GOP members and former lobbyist cabinet members, has made eliminating federal regulations a priority with 83 former air, land and water environmental protections in termination.

Yet, Trump, who has a reputation for not reading anything, listening only to coal barons and those most against renewable energy, and he who embraces the climate deniers, refuses to protect our planet’s human population. He has taken the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Climate Accords while 173 other United Nations members signed up to work together in a concerted, coordinated effort to reduce carbon emissions, slow global temperature risings, and help all the countries of the world control the effects of climate change.  

In Oregon, the legislature tried to make headway with carbon emissions controls. However, the survival in office of GOP politicians by their absence from the capitol “won” the day over human survival concerns. It’s mortuus est finis here!

Elsewhere in the world there are those who seek to help aching hearts, most recently exampled by Pope Francis. The pope convened some of the biggest and most powerful oil and companies in the world, including Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, and Chevron, to a Vatican climate summit where he encouraged them to focus on the risks of climate change to their businesses and the importance of switching to cleaner energy sources. 

Pope Francis also emphasized the moral imperative “to save God’s creation.” When he spoke he also pointed out to the gathering of the oil executives that, if managed well, the new world design would “generate new jobs, reduce inequality and improve the quality of life for those affected by climate change” (as would have happened in Oregon by passage of House Bill 2020). Pledges to change secured by Pope Francis were followed up on at the European Union summit where these same leaders discussed efforts to combat climate change by bringing carbon emissions to a halt by 2050.

Venture it to say, any Oregonian who has lived through the last five decades, and been poignantly conscious of his surroundings, knows that our winters are shorter, spring now comes earlier, summers are more torrid and fall is a season of greater length. Oregon’s forests are dryer and more often afire as are the open fields and range lands east of the Cascade Range. For now, however, we may be considered the more fortunate in the U.S. compared to the brutal, devastating tornadoes, days of rain that result in floods that turn farmlands, towns and cities into paths of overflowing rivers and waist-deep lakes where the water then stands dirty brown, drowning people and farm animals, destroying everything it covers. Meanwhile the polar ice caps melt and oceans rise.

The new order of life in America is that it is under a huge strain with the former occupants of lowlands and farms wondering if they’ll ever return to normal conditions. However, normalcy is unlikely to happen since humankind continues to add carbon emissions in tonnages to nature that was formerly friendly to humans but now a threatening foe. We should all heed and be agents of action here and throughout the planet. We should demand that our government lead the way to change; however, unfortunately, making money remains a stronger motivator than that which, if implemented, would save humanity.

(Gene H. McIntyre shares his opinion regularly in the Keizertimes.)