I am a first-time mom. The baby at almost 14 months is a joy. He babbles, toddles, gobbles and giggles. He is curious about everything, especially about things that fit in his mouth.
Every now and again, he gets sick. When his symptoms are bad and the fever is high, it’s time to follow the doctor’s orders and get treatment.
I certainly don’t think, “You can’t be sure of the thermometer,” “the doctors are just trying to make money,” or “this might get expensive to treat.”
My baby could suffer brain damage if I don’t do what the science recommends.
So, when I think about our delicate planet, as a new mother, feeling tender probably to a fault, I can’t understand why we wouldn’t take the same basic precautions that we do when our kids are sick. We hold their hands when they cross the street. We cut their grapes into eighths. We kiss their skinned knees. We cuddle them when they bonk their heads.
But somehow, when the climate comes crashing down on us, flooding our cities, stranding our cattle, terrifying our pets, wiping out Caribbean islands, killing hundreds in India, sending Floridians fleeing and Houstonians floating – some babies in plastic boxes, setting our forests aflame, condemning us to drought more years than not, our government fails to act on the underlying issue.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt even claims with a straight face that it’s insensitive to talk about climate change during a hurricane. The idea that I’ll rescue you from your flooded home, but I will not make basic changes that will let the oceans cool so this won’t happen to you again with increasing ferocity in the future, is incomprehensible.
I wonder about the day when I’m not here to protect my child and his. They’ll ask “why didn’t you take the basic preventative action to make sure, at least, that we’d have enough resources to live comfortably?”
The large majority of Americans, even when they aren’t sure of the science, agree we must do something about climate change. This tendency toward precaution reveals a basic human decency.
This is our time to innovate, create, change and flourish so that our kids can be assured of a safe, bountiful future. It’s time to protect our families and generations to come by rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, implementing the oil and gas methane waste and pollution rules, training enough electricians locally to supply the Facebook solar project, reopening the Renewable Energy Program at San Juan College, retraining our workers to do home efficiency programs and install solar panels, manufacturing wind turbines, increasing the amount of renewables PNM uses to power our homes, and educating the student who will eventually bring us the most highly efficient battery.
Instead, Gov. Susana Martinez’s Public Education Department is proposing the removal of references to climate change and evolution from its science guidelines. Public hearings on this are at 9 a.m. Oct. 16 at the Jerry Apodaca Education Building, 300 Don Gaspar Ave. in Santa Fe. The state seeks to condemn our kids to ignorance while, for example, Pope Francis writes in his encyclical on climate change, “A very solid scientific consensus indicates that we are presently witnessing a disturbing warming of the climatic system” but “… all is not lost. Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start.”
Will New Mexico be like Tesla, which innovates electric cars that go from 0 to 60 in 3 seconds? Or will we be like Kodak, which didn’t believe in digital photography and is now wiped from the economy?
Will we follow the doctor’s orders – and the pope’s?
Our planet has a fever. It’s time to act. Our kids are counting on us.