Saturday, January 9, 2010


Now, the world knows that governments need to act, fast, to counter climate change. And most of us already know the perils of living in a warmer world. Many of us are even unfortunate enough to have experienced global warming's initial effects already (think the Kelantan-Terengganu floods and the current searingly hot afternoons). Still, government officials, not feeling these effects directly, drag their feet when it comes to action.
As great a leader as he is, President Obama is still subservient to the laws of politics, notably compromise. Pity.

One reason for this is politics, simple, despicable politics. You see, leaders promise to take action on climate change, but never specify just how much action they want to take, or when they want to take it. And of course, ambiguity is always the mark of a great politician. But more troubling is the fact that environmentalist leaders are scared to death of alienating the voters who don't believe in man-made global warming, or those who argue about the cost. Other than forget the environmentalist votes they could get, they then decide to compromise. Which is why you hear about Obama's plan for clean coal, when a greener choice would be mext-generation nuclear power.
This is a coal strip mine. Now, how clean can this be, compared to the near zero- emissions rate for nuclear power?

Thing is, global-warming won't compromise. The tons of carbon we've belched into the Earth won't hang around and wait for all of us to agree on the issue; it's cooking the planet as we speak. Which means if a government's got something it wants to do on global warming, then it sure as heck should start doing it! Screw the politics.

But politics isn't the worst of it.

There's actually a fair bit of greed here. Oil rich nations (with a significant number of African ones) are dead against a carbon neutral economy, in which oil won't feature. Heck, oil's effects are much more far-ranging than simply the environment- it's caused wars, widened the rich-poor gap, and, in developing countries, caused the curse of black gold. But, because it brings in a windfall in profits, governments are not about to give it up for something as universal as, say, solar. That includes Malaysia; petronas funds too much of the government budget for it to wean itself off oil in the near future.
Despite having oil, many Nigerians live in slums like this, as powerful elites siphon off oil royalties.

Therefore, it's up to us. It is us who must reject plastic, save energy (the sun is bright enough to be used to study- just open your windows), and recycle whatever cannot be reused. Branching out from mere global warming, we must also save our endangered animals by ensuring they remain in the wild- not in our houses, not on our dinner plates, but in our seas, skies and forests. It will be a tough fight, and public revolution is necessary. But we, the young people of today, must look at the choices our parents and grandparents made yesterday, and reject them in favour of a tomorrow with the real planet God made for us.

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