Power to do What?

The Saturday (02/07) New York Times, in an article entitled Environmental Views, Past and Present,


compared the actions of Pres. Bush and Pres. Obama:

“Through most of his presidency, Mr. Bush largely framed his approach to global warming around two talking points: the uncertainties in forecasts of a dangerously human-heated world and the certainty that economic harm would come from mandatory cuts in emissions of heat-trapping gases.”


How often we have heard the argument that we aren’t certain about the future, therefore we should do nothing. The do-nothing approach certainly enhanced Pres. Bush’s short-term political power as a representative both of big business and of the people, in the immediate effort to fend off the reckoning. But if we want preserve our long-term options (that is our power to respond, whatever the future may bring) then we must begin now and seriously to modify our impact upon the ecosystem. Our dedication to the problem can not do any long-term harm if the scientists are wrong about global warming; it will definitely improve the lives of our grandchildren if the scientists are right.

As is often the case, we are caught between the short term power individually or collectively to line our own pockets and the long-term power to provide for our young. Most often, we can’t have it both ways.   Our power to influence the outcome of such a situation lies in our ability to evaluate and balance the long and short term benefits of the available options.

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