by Kristina Vakhman
Towards the end of a 1977 NBC News documentary on the dangers of improperly-stored nuclear waste, reporter Floyd Kalber presented a harrowing realization: “We are accustomed in this country to act only in times of crisis.”
I reached this broadcast by sheer accident and it startled me how applicable this statement still is four decades later. As a country, we have fallen into the habit of ignoring issues, even if doing so does more damage to us in the long run than actually taking the time to address the problem right away. Flags of alarm are just as displeasing to us as a matador’s cape is to a bull.
This is especially true on the topic of climate change. Where there is a growing sentiment to protect the environment brought on by overwhelming scientific research, many Americans see nothing to worry about. To them, climate change is, as President Donald Trump famously wrote in a tweet in the 2016 presidential election’s campaign trail, “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese.”
It is impossible to understand how this can be someone’s truth — that someone could put up a shield so strong that it is impervious to fact. I especially cannot understand how, in the face of natural disasters like Hurricanes Harvey and Irma that mercilessly ravaged everything in their path, anti-environmentalists and climate deniers can go on propagating the false narrative that there is nothing to see here.
In the Trump administration, giving these important issues the cold shoulder is a common practice. On the topic of Hurricane Irma, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, called speaking about the cause of the storm “misplaced.”
The head of the EPA refuses to dive deeper into what is making the environment act out this way. Despite scientists hollering the warning that rising sea temperatures will give way to stronger ocean storms, Pruitt does not have the desire to acknowledge the truth. Unfortunately, the rest of Trump’s cabinet behaves in this manner as well.
However, the reality is that no one is immune to climate change, including anti-environmentalists — not President Trump, whose mansions were under threat by Irma, and not Rush Limbaugh, who claimed the media was fear-mongering in regards to the hurricane, and then evacuated his home. Anti-environmentalists ignoring the facts, and believing they are invincible to the inevitable, is not beneficial to them or anyone else.
Climate change will continue, and it will continue to affect everyone. It will affect public health, the economy and our entire way of life. We are approaching a critical point where there is a point of no return. The horrific hurricanes that keep battering us are only one of many telltale signs.
For this reason, it is time for anti-environmentalists to give up. They must stop pretending there isn’t a problem just so they do not have to put in the effort to solve it. They should not wait until the very last second when everything hangs by a thread whose hairs are splitting under pressure; they should not follow the norm in this country of conceding when it is too late.
If they want their families to thrive for generations, they should give up this fruitless fight now. Mother Nature waits for no one.