Saturday, June 29, 2013

Saving the Planet is So Boring

Now that the Supreme Court has shut down the big tent, the news carnival is back to telling us more than we want to know about the trivial and ephemeral.

Killjoy that he is, however, Barack Obama devotes his Weekly Address to explaining plans to (snooze alert) reduce carbon pollution and protect our country from the effects of climate change such as “more extreme droughts, floods, wildfires, and hurricanes.”

How? “We’ll need scientists to design new fuels, and farmers to grow them. We’ll need engineers to devise new technologies, and businesses to make and sell them. We’ll need workers to man assembly lines that hum with high-tech, zero-carbon components, and builders to hammer into place the foundations for a new clean energy age. We’ll need to give special care to people and communities unsettled by this transition. And those of us in positions of responsibility will need to be less concerned with the judgment of special interests and well-connected donors, and more concerned with the judgment of our children.”

In his acceptance speech at the GOP convention last summer, Mitt Romney drew laughs by mocking his opponent: “President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.”

Nobody’s laughing now, but the problems are complex and daunting. On an issue such as disposing of nuclear waste, politicians are still grappling with a plan that has been on the table since 1987 while public watchdogs insist that “billions of dollars are being wasted on a specialized nuclear plant that was supposed to produce fuel for nuclear energy and reduce weapons grade plutonium.”

If we shy away from being bored to death by all this stuff, disregarding it will ensure that future generations have to face uglier and more literal forms of demise.

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