Let’s stop pretending that everything is not on the line

Elections come and go. You have your opinions, I have mine. Our social media allows us both to only see the truths about he world that we like, even putting in a few white and black lies to make us feel better every so often.

I don’t have to listen to you, nor do you have to listen to me, and we are not obligated at all in this same way to care about people from other towns, states, regions, and countries, nor are we obligated to show any sort of consideration for them. If you’re in business, it’s the exact opposite, as foreign workers are portrayed as things to be exploited for maximum profit, something you are free to do with little to no repercussions outside of the occasional bad PR.

My life is not affected by your politics, and your life is not affected by mine. Didn’t you know that people live in their own little worlds completely independent of one another? You can just do and say whatever you want with no repercussions.

Say this aloud, and it sounds ridiculous. Of course everyone’s lives are interconnected, we live in a global society after all. But we don’t act like it, or at least, too few people do. Perhaps this is because human beings are inherently selfish animals, but especially in politics and anything opinion-related online, we often put the “me” above the “us,” not knowing that the “me” is very much affected by the “us.” We have many people across the world that scoff at people wanting basic things like access to decent universal health care, as if it’s some joke. Businessman crack up at the prospect of reorganizing and opening up our collegiate system in a way where it is accessible to more people, inherently making more valuable workers and injecting the economy with some much-needed lifeblood in the form of disposable income. Many are unhealthily obsessed with initial overheard costs of basic social programs, ignorant of the huge bounty those programs can provide for everyone, even them.

And then there’s the well-being of the plant. Every year, temperatures worldwide reach new heights, and in 2018 we still have people who deny that the world is getting warmer. Somewhat worse, as some admit this but fail to grasp the huge scope of it, and the apocalyptic circumstances we will most likely see fruition in our lifetimes.

And it’s not like this should be news to anyone, we always knew that climate change was a huge threat to our very existence on this planet, but too many people were complacent because they couldn’t see the results of it with their own eyes. In a world where sea levels are rising, causing coastal towns to disappear, where the heat is claiming the lives of many through natural disasters like the California wildfires and heat-related afflictions, it is insane to believe that our world is not getting warmer or that it’s caused by humans, and it might already be too late to reverse cataclysmic events that will most likely claim the lives of millions if not billions of people in the coming decades.

Green energy is advancing at a decent pace, and I do think that the human race as a whole has a good chance of surviving to the end of this century, if by the skin of our teeth, but I cannot deny that when I think of the future, I think that it’s impossible to avoid some sort of doomsday event that is completely instigated by the warming planet. It could be a famine, it could be a flood, or it could just be an abnormally hot period in an area not prepared for it that sets off a chain reaction of events that causes a lot of human deaths.

And the closer we get to those scenarios, the closer we get to a point where radical action is the only thing that can save us, a type of action that would place an oppressive regime in place that would force us to stop the bad behavior we are allowing to go on that has put the planet in this situation. And I’m not just talking about America, I’m talking about the freedom for countries to self-govern. It might sound crazy, because it is, but so is the future we’re going to face in the coming decades. The human race as a whole cannot afford infighting, we cannot afford people peddling and accepting lies as legitimate arguments, not when the fate of the globe is on the line – and it’s also worth mentioning that climate change is not the only thing that can trigger a man-made disaster. Overpopulation, nuclear war, and pollution can also ruin life on this planet for us, and all these issues have very simple solutions:

  1. Everyone need to realize that they’re not isolated from the world. Your actions affect other human beings, even those miles away from you, because we’re all connected. Similarly, things you do that affect another human being will almost always cycle back to affect you one day.
  2. You’re not just an American. You’re not just a Canadian, or a Frenchman, or a Russian, or a citizen of China. You’re a person, and these labels that we use to put ourselves in these little groups are made up and, while useful for focusing on regional issues, should not be used as an excuse to divide people in different countries from one another.
  3. All of us are going to be affected by the apocalyptic scenarios if they happen, whether directly or indirectly, so it is in everyone’s best interest to do everything that they can to avoid them.
  4. Short-term gains are not worth getting at the expense of long-term ones. This might sound like common sense, but isn’t always that way in business, and many countries are run like businesses. For example, an oil tycoon might want to influence politicians to allow him to increase production of oil, and therefore his profits, but by doing so increases the risks of his own business in many ways. For one, he contributes to the changing planet, which will speed up events that can affect everyone via disaster, but more immediately, he is further exploiting a finite resource that he might not have access to in the future, making it harder for him to do business long term. A better strategy would be to space out production in a way that his business can make money off of selling oil for many years to come, or to invest in industries whose products are not finite.
  5. Most of the world’s problems can be solved or addressed appropriately through people being willing to sit down with people they disagree with, considering their points fully on face value, possibly re-evaluating their own in the process, and reaching some sort of agreement that might not be what either fully wanted, but will get the job done. That last part is key. The solutions to the world’s massive problems don’t have to be sexy, or the blueprint to some utopia, they just have to succeed in addressing the problems themselves, whether you like them or not. This does not mean to negotiate with extremists that advocate for things like genocide, but human conversation can go a long way.

New York Magazine did a great piece on the effects of a warming world that we will most likely see (http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html), and they are far from the first, but their piece provides a great breakdown of how the world might change and is already changing because of fossil fuel emissions in general beyond just sea levels rising – and these are all things that we can expect to see in our lifetimes. And like I said before, there are also other potential world-ending events caused by human actions, particularly pollution and nuclear fallout – the last one of which can be instigated by simple war or just human negligence, that we need to address, but the time for pretending that these potential consequences cannot happen and are not within our control to fix should be over.

Because who you vote for does matter, as does your politics, and when everything is on the line like it is, it should inspire human cooperation. It’s in all of our own best interests, after all.

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