Sunday, September 18, 2011

Realists Denying Reality

The politicians in Washington who so love to brag about their "realism" are in deep denial, to the point of threatening U.S. and all human security. Realism is not about acting like a tough guy; realism is about facing the truth and planning for the future.

Some politicians present themselves as realists, i.e., as hard-headed, long-range thinkers who can be trusted to defend U.S. national security. The more extreme of these demand the submission of the rest of the world as they pursue their realist imperial policies in a world they perceive as being a zero-sum, tooth-and-claw environment. In order to scrape together the resources for their expensive foreign adventures, they further demand that the American people accept low wages, bad health care, and superficial democracy. Such, they say, is the price of freedom. Lets take them at their word, for a moment, and consider how their policies might in fact serve U.S. national interestsover the long run.

For most Americans, the long run is not even in their vocabulary. It requires an unconventional way of thinking to plan for a time whenwell, shall we say, when your children are grown? Thats not too far down the road, is it?

When your children are grown (and you expect to be settling down for a comfortable retirement), Southern Californiawhere all your winter fruits and vegetables come frommay be a dust bowl.

In the Southwestern U.S. the tipping point has probably already been passed. The scientists now predict that levels of aridity last seen in the 1930s Dust Bowl will have become the norm by mid-century. [Allianz.]

The original report, Major Tipping Points in the Earths Climate System, on which the above conclusion was based spells out why reality is even worse than would be inferred from the above comparison to the Dust Bowl:

Here, comparison has already been made with conditions seen in the 1950s multiyear drought or the 1930s Dust Bowl. However, it is important to note that, while conditions are similar, the future intensified aridity in the Southwest predicted by Seager et al. (4) is caused by different processes and expected drying is “unlike any climate state we have seen in the instrumental record”. [73]

On the drowning East Coast, it may be hard to take seriously the potential collapse of southern Californias invaluable farmland as the Sierra snowpack disappears, but consider:

Global warming is intensifying the water cycle the process of precipitation, infiltration, and evaporation. In the future, the wet will get wetter and the dry will become drier.
Every system requires energy: the more energy, the more vigorous the system. The sun powers the life-giving system that is the water cycle and thanks to greenhouse gases, there is more energy, or simply heat, in the system. [Allianz.]
It is hard to imagine any portion of the U.S. more central to the American way of life and American power than the lush fruit and vegetable lands of southern California. A true realist would deem the protection of this treasure a realistic thing to do. This video, featuring California state environmental scientists, explains what is happening to the crucial Sierra snowpack and the immediate impact of nonaction, including two current trends of rising lightning, dying forests, and—as a result—more and hotter forest fires.

If you are still troubled by the true meaning of realism, watch the first two minutes of this five-minute video.

How are the realists with their Mideast wars, their health care system that leaves 30 million Americans behind, their financial system that coddles billionaires and puts 20 million Americans into the unemployment lines, their sneering at the warnings of the worlds scientists about global warming preparing the U.S. for the loss of Southern California?

  • Are the realists conserving global hydrocarbon supplies?
  • Are the realists developing a healthy green industrial base to provide clean energy?
  • Are the realists promoting small, local farms to ensure food supplies as Southern California runs out of water?
  • Are the realists implementing a plan to combat the rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide that is threatening our childrens way of life?

Call them realists, empire-builders,  neo-cons, or just elitists (of both major parties), they are doing no such thing. They are not planning for the long-run survival of our way of life. They are not thinking about how your children will live when they grow up or how you will live when you get to what you imagine will be your retirement age.

Realism today is not about brute force; realism is about facing the truth and taking action to protect human security.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In regards to global warming, I suggest you read the book: "ice ages and astronomical causes" by Muller & McDonald.