We are not powerless!

Today I was reading a piece in the New Yorker about President Obama’s trip to the tornado ravaged town of Joplin, Missouri. As he reviewed the aftermath, attended a memorial service and bared further witness to all this town has endured. The President said something that gave me pause.

"Such questions, the President went on, cannot be answered, as “these things are beyond our power to control."

Is this really true? Was this act of nature beyond our control? Are we mere mortals powerless to stop it? Could it have been prevented? While we may not be able to control when and where these destructive acts of nature occur. We are responsible for creating the environment for these events to happen more frequently and more forcefully than ever before. All of this, from the flooding and drought to the super-charged hurricane seasons are happening for a reason. When it comes to the climate it would seem we have either feast or famine and neither is to be welcomed.

"For decades, climate scientists have predicted that, as global temperatures rose, the side effects would include deeper droughts, more intense flooding, and more ferocious storms."

The science is there but we choose to ignore it. We ignore the science because we face an economically entrenched opposition favoring the status quo. Their shortsighted vision can’t extend past the next quarter or the next fiscal year. So they spend millions to influence public opinion and deny the science. They fail to see that we could change. We can set ourselves on the path to a new greener economy. The security of our planet and our future and a dynamic economy are not mutually exclusive. We may not reap the windfall profits of the fossil-fueled era but instead we will ensure that the word sustainability rings true. We’re all in this together and we must ensure that we all rise together.

As the public we ignore the science because what must be done presents one of the greatest challenges mankind has ever faced if not it’s greatest. But challenges have never stopped us from achieving greatness before. Why start letting those challenges limit us now?