(Editor’s Note: When this guest column ran in the Cedar Rapids Gazette on Wednesday, Sept. 21, its abstract nature became real as heavy precipitation events pummeled Butler County and other parts of northeastern Iowa, disrupting lives there and downstream. Living in an environment where rain damages crops instead of nurturing them; where rivers jump their banks, close schools and displace people; and where Cedar Rapids must protect the city from record amounts of floodwater multiple times in eight years, something’s wrong. We must take action that includes electing a government that will address the causes of global warming and nuclear proliferation, not just deal with the actuality we have created).
Protect environment; stop nuclear weapons
By Paul Deaton
Guest column for the Cedar Rapids Gazette Sept. 21, 2016.
Reprinted with permission of the author
If we accept the premise articulated by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, that we are stronger together, there is a lot in society requiring our collective attention.
There are no lone wolves in human society, although a number of people want to get away from the pack. Can we blame them? Being stronger together is a fundamental characteristic of Homo sapiens. It’s what we do as a species.
What should we be working on?
It is hard to avoid the primacy of following the golden rule. We should be applying the golden rule, better than we have been, to everything we already do. This is basic.
Two other issues call for our attention, the threat of nuclear weapons, and mitigating the effects of climate change.
Today, on very short notice, nuclear powers can unleash a holocaust ending life as we know it. Nuclear war is not talked about much in the 21st Century; however the threat is as real today as it was when President Truman authorized the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings. The United States should take the lead in eliminating nuclear weapons. We need a transformational change in our nuclear policy that recognizes these weapons are the gravest threat to our security and must be banned and abolished.
We are wrecking our environment and should stop. Just 90 companies are to blame for most climate change, taking carbon out of the ground and putting it in the atmosphere, geographer Richard Heede said. If that’s the case, the move to eliminate fossil fuel use can’t come quick enough. These companies should be targeted for regulation by governments. Companies say they are not to blame for the demand from billions of consumers that drives fossil fuel use. Technologies exist to eliminate fossil fuels, and we should adopt them with haste. One purpose of government is to act as a voice for people who have no voice. Regulating business to protect our lives in the environment would serve that purpose.
After the 2016 election these issues will remain. The first can gain wide support easily. It is time the other two gain parity.
~ Paul Deaton retired from CRST Logistics in 2009.