A clear and present (actual) national emergency

February 3, 2019

I have no problem with the president declaring a national emergency, under The National Emergencies Act of 1976, when it is absolutely necessary to do so. We have ignored one particular dire threat to our country’s safety, security, and the well-being of our future for far too long.

On Tuesday, February 5th, the president is going to address the American people with his State of the Union speech from the United States Capitol. It has been rumored that he is going to make the argument for declaring a national emergency regarding a border wall along the southern border of the United States.

There is a far more existential threat that we are ignoring. For decades, both political parties (and their candidates) have disregarded the threat of climate change and have refused to make it an issue because it was not politically popular, but times are changing, and so is the threat of catastrophic weather events. In this day of extreme weather and its resulting devastation, it has come time to face what scientists have been warning us about for years.  The Earth’s climate is changing quickly, and drastically, and whether you believe climate change is real or not, whether you believe climate change is caused by man or not, the fact remains that climate change is the predominant threat to the existence of mankind that the world has ever faced, and is certainly more than worthy of being declared a national emergency.

For decades the fossil fuel business has lied to the American people about the danger to our environment that their industry represents, much like the tobacco companies hid their threat to human health with lies and false reports. The real truth is that the major oil and gas corporations have already hedged their bets by researching and developing alternative energy sources themselves. They know the transition to clean energy is coming and they want to be on the forefront of profit-making once they are begrudgingly dragged into the future, clinging to that last drop of oil or lump of coal. 

Renewable energy is the answer to both a cleaner environment and to slowing the impact of climate change to our planet. There are countries all over the world that have already stepped up to reap the benefits of renewable energy.  Iceland, for example, is already using 100% renewable energy in their electricity grid, with other countries like Germany, the U.K., Denmark, Sweden and even Uruguay following close behind.

So it isn’t like there aren’t any solutions, and it has come high time to do something about our future before it is too late.

If you think that the future of your grandchildren and the survival of mankind is not a national emergency then you need to re-examine your priorities and what you consider to be an emergency, because this runaway train isn’t slowing down, and it’s going to run us over and kill us all if we don’t take action.

James Kennedy

James Kennedy is a local artist and former businessman. He enjoys fine art, cooking and music. His own artworks are on view and available for purchase at his website.

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