By Sarah Mosko
Voice of OC, 01-Feb, 2022
Fullerton Observer, Early Feb Edition (p.20), 2022
Irvine Community News & Views, 28-Jan, 2022
Times of San Diego, 26-Jan, 2022
E-The Environmental Magazine, 24-Jan, 2022
Humans have demonstrated seemingly unlimited capacity for innovation. We’ve mastered flight, mapped our own genome, and invented the telescope and internet. So why are we so lackadaisical, so inept, at tackling the climate crisis, the greatest existential threat we’ve ever faced?
It’s not because we’ve lost the knack for innovation. Clever minds, for example, have recently figured out how to make clothing from cotton engineered to perform like and replace petroleum-derived polyester synthetics which are polluting our air, water, food and bodies with non-biodegrading plastic microfibers.
Nor is it because we don’t know what needs to be done: Stop dumping carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
So, what’s at the root of humanity’s incompetence when it comes to solving the climate crisis?
For a while it was easy to invoke the “slow boil” explanation, that climate change is such a slowly evolving threat that humans behave like the frog thrown into a cool pot of water heated up so gradually the frog doesn’t notice it’s being cooked alive. Certainly, this explanation is no longer credible given that essentially every region of the world is experiencing increasingly frequent, record-shattering climate extremes like wildfires, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, melting glaciers and rising sea level.
That heads of state, climate experts and climate activists have been convening annually for 26 straight years to address the climate crisis (the so-called Conference of the Parties, or COP) is further evidence that the slow boil hypothesis has worn thin. In fact, COP 26 just concluded in November with the unhappy news that even the unenforceable pledges for cutting greenhouse emissions of the nearly 200 attending countries will fall short of the reductions needed to prevent the worst impacts of global warming.
The fundamental reasons for our failure to tackle climate change are two-fold: unbridled corporate capitalism and the failure of governments to act in the public interest.