Guest opinion: The Pentagon and global warming | PostIndependent.com

Guest opinion: The Pentagon and global warming

Charles Loomis

The naval base at Norfolk, Virginia, is sinking — or maybe the sea level is rising? I leave it to the reader to decide.

The main problem at Norfolk is that the biggest and one of the oldest naval bases in the world is going to have to be moved to another location. Maybe the Navy knows some location where the sea level isn’t rising? This is interesting thinking. In the face of what is happening worldwide, this would, indeed, be a very valuable piece of oceanfront property.

In preparation for the coming rising of the seas (or further sinking of the base — whichever you prefer) the Navy is building new, higher and bigger piers at Norfolk. At a recent press gathering there, asked by a reporter why the Navy was building the new piers higher than in the past, a Navy spokesperson said something to the effect of, “It doesn’t cost that much more to build them higher, so we just thought we would.”

Unfortunately, it will be difficult to service the ships docked at the new piers no matter how high they are, as the Navy expects service roads to eventually be non-navigable by wheeled vehicles because of the increasing water depth. High tides and heavy rain are already taking a toll on the base.

Of course, when applying for money for future projects, the Navy can’t mention anything about changing climate because right wing denier congresspeople holding the finance approval pens will not sign or approve any projects that make reference to anything to do with climate change, global warming, etc., etc., etc. Oh boy, talk about hiding your head in the sand (or water).

Maybe we should turn the billions of dollars we spend on rockets and space travel to the study of survival in a warming climate right here on good old Earth.

I look askance at space travel and exploration and populating other planets with the same bunch of hard-headed denier Earth dwellers that we now have. We shouldn’t move to other planets until we solve our problems right here. Let’s not spread the poison — we need to learn how to get along with one another and our environment before moving to a new site.

Let’s think about reverse Kon-Tikis coming ashore from low-lying lands in Europe, Africa, South America and island nations. Let’s think about refugees from U.S. lowlands looking for dry land. They will be coming, and thanks to our right-wing denier friends, they will be hungry, looking for shelter and armed to the teeth. Attention, highlanders, do you have an extra bedroom or two and extra food, because lowlanders will surely be coming, and they will be angry as well as hungry.

From the New York Times: “‘In democracies driven by lobbyists, donors and plutocrats, the giant polluters are going to win while the rest of us, in various degrees of passivity and complicity, will watch the planet die. Any attempt to rise to the climate challenge will be fruitless unless it is understood as part of a much broader battle of worldviews,’ writes Naomi Klein in her eye-opening book, “This Changes Everything.’ Klein also tells us, ‘Our economic system and our planetary system are now at war.’”

Here’s a new word for you — extractivism. That’s the word that scientists are using to define the economic activity of most of the world right now. We need to change the meme and start finding ways to leave fossil fuels in the ground and really push for the development of renewable sources of energy if we are to save human life on this planet.

I fear for my newborn grandnephew, his brother and my six grandchildren in terms of the life they have ahead of them. The world they will face at age 30, 40 or 50 will be a very scary one unless we change our ways and rid ourselves of the extractivism way of life. The quality of life for our progeny is in our hands — right now.

Again from the New York Times: “To change economic norms and ethical perceptions in tandem is even more formidable than the technological battle to adapt to the heavy weather coming at us in the future. Yet, ‘This Changes Everything’ is, improbably, Klein’s most optimistic book. She braids together the science, psychology, geopolitics, economics, ethics and activism that shape the climate question. The result is the most momentous and contentious environmental book since Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring.’”

Charles Loomis is a partial-year resident of the Roaring Fork Valley.


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