One Mother’s Reaction To The Climate Silence: ‘I’m Angry As Hell And High Water’

by Dominique Browning via Moms Clean Air Force

Over here at Moms Clean Air Force, I’ve been–I’ll admit it–profoundly depressed that the candidates have blown their chance to talk about the most important issue facing our planet. Climate Change.

Two debates down. A moderator who says “Whoops! Ran out of time to ask about climate. So sorry!”

Well, I’m sorry too. And I’m angry. Angry as hell and high water.

Two debates about “domestic policy” and not one word has been uttered about the chaotic domestic weather we’ve been enduring. Not one word about our unreliable climate. Not one word about the pain and suffering visited upon millions of Americans because of runaway greenhouse gas pollution. Not one word about the ugly legacy we will leave our children.

And now, one debate left to go. The topic? Foreign policy.

I’ve been walking around in a funk about this, my mental climate as agitated as it has ever been, thinking, well, that’s that. We won’t hear a word.

And then, the lightbulb–LED, naturally–popped on!

We have one more chance–before we vote–to demand that the candidates talk about climate change. And we have a moral imperative to demand that.

Because climate change is one of the most urgent and important foreign policy issues Americans will  ever face.

Climate change is a foreign policy issue for military reasons.

Our military leaders know this. They know that their soldiers–our husbands and wives, our children–are the ones whose lives are on the line when wars break out over the shrinking resources caused by water shortages and unproductive land. That’s why our military leaders, never known for their radicalism, are pushing for innovative sustainable energies. They want to keep our soldiers out of harm’s way.

Climate change is a foreign policy issue for economic reasons.

America has long been a global leader in engineering innovation and entrepreneurial ingenuity. That’s what it takes to create solutions to large, seemingly impossible problems. We put people on the moon! We cannot lose our edge in technological innovation–the first time in our history that we will have done so. We need to reassert our leadership so that we can build solutions–global solutions–to climate chaos, together.

Climate change is a foreign policy issue for humanitarian reasons.

Americans are blessed with a land that is rich in resources: abundant and fertile farmlands, oceans of plenty to feed us. Not every country has the luxuries we do; and not everyone in this country partakes of our bounty. We have a moral obligation, as good people, to care for one another. Far distant archipelagos may be underwater first, but our own shores will also be threatened. Already, Florida and other coastal areas are feeling the effects of climate change. Our love of people knows no national boundaries.

Climate change is a foreign policy issue. Because we are all in this together. All of us. All over the world.

Our Earth’s atmosphere has been compromised by air pollution. And we all breathe the same air, when you get right down to it. We must demand that the candidates give us their plans to slow, and then reverse, the changing climate that is bringing us tragic and extreme storms, flooding, heat waves, and droughts.

Noah had to choose only a pair of every single species to enter his Ark. Is that a position we want to put our children in?

Whether you believe the story of Noah and his Ark literally, or metaphorically–it makes no difference. The fact is, life in a world with an unreliable, chaotic climate means that we–and our children–are going to face some very hard choices, very soon, about who lives. And who dies.

We don’t have to go there. Anywhere in the world.

Tell our candidates: Break Your Climate Silence.

Or imagine how you are going to look your children in the eye and answer one, sad question: Why didn’t you stop this, when you could?

Dominique Browning is the co-founder of Moms Clean Air Force and its lead blogger. She is a writer and editor — and the mother of two sons. She blogs at Slow Love Life and writes a column called Personal Nature for the Environmental Defense Fund.

29 Responses to One Mother’s Reaction To The Climate Silence: ‘I’m Angry As Hell And High Water’

  1. Mike Roddy says:

    Foreign policy is the key to doing anything about the climate. Unless other countries agree to cut back emissions, domestic fossil fuel oligarchies everywhere (as in China) will succeed in blocking action. The statement some of our pols make- “Why should we do anything if (fill in the blank) they are not?”- is repeated by leaders all over the world. In most cases, the blank country is the United States.

  2. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Mike, the US is fond of imposing its will onto other countries through the use of sanctions. Would it be impossible to imagine an EU, a BRIC, or an Australia turning that strategy on US in order to get US to deal with AGW?

  3. Philip Pease says:

    You are right about climate change and the need to cut fossil fuel use being a global problem. Unfortunately I think I heard both Romney and Obama present their views when they both claimed they will do a bang up job producing more oil, coal, and gas while ignoring the reality that increased fossil fuel use leads to catastrophic and unstoppable global warming. Four years ago I thought Obama would act to cut fossil fuel use; but today I realize he has joined the big money interests and is willing to sacrifice the survival of civilization for their greed. I will vote for Jill Stein of the Green Party as the only hope for a future that might not resemble Hell on Earth.

  4. BBHY says:

    If the US got serious about reducing carbon emissions we could tell China they have to clean up too or we will stop importing all those goods from them. We might even go back to manufacturing stuff here. Would that be so bad?

  5. BBHY says:

    Actually my candidate talks about climate science all the time. Don’t expect help from the Dems or the T-pubs on this. You need to go Green Party.

    You can walk into a doughnut shop and ask for a steak but you won’t get one. You can switch to another doughnut shop but it won’t help. You can do that over and over and over 1000 times but you still won’t get what you want. No matter how many times you ask or how badly you want it, you will never get a steak from the doughnut shop.

    That is what you are doing when you vote Dem or T-pub. You are expecting something from someone who will never, can never, give it to you.

    Sure Jill Stein won’t win. So what? If winning is the most important thing, then you had to vote for G W Bush in 2000 and 2004. Was it worth throwing away your vote just to back the winner?

    If Romney wins, blame the people who voted for him, don’t blame me because I voted Stein. I only control my vote, I am not responsible for how everyone else votes. If everyone else jumps off a cliff, I am not going to follow,

  6. Mike Roddy says:

    Yes, but it will have to happen a few countries at a time at first. The EU or G8 aren’t equipped to do it; it must happen at leadership level, bilaterally at first, by announcing trade sanctions unless certain targets are met.

    This could be avoided if Obama met with Chinese leadership, and announced mutual negotiated decarbonization. It’s up to us more than anyone, and China second, for many reasons, including emissions volume. Other countries that have been standing on the sidelines will follow. That’s a long shot, but would save a lot of headaches and maneuvering. Nixon did it, and maybe Obama will surprise us.

    We don’t ask much. Nixon was hardly a great man. Let’s see if a world leader grows into his job, and gives the finger to the oil and coal companies in his country (that will be the hard part).

  7. Henry says:

    The EU already tried to impose sanctions with its ETS (emissions trading scheme) where any airlines traveling to or from, or within, the EU would pay tarriffs based on their emissions.
    This was met with strong disapproval from every nation that flies to the EU, especially the US, India, Russia and especially China. It just won’t work this way. A unilateral agreement is the only possible solution.

  8. Ben Goodman says:

    The silence is the result of the fact that switching investment from fossil to green means switching jobs from fossil to green. The candidates need a plan for this, otherwise “green” is equated with job losses in the fossil fuel industries. Of course, the only real concern of the fossil fuel industries is the loss of profits.

  9. Notfunnymitt says:

    China HAS a carbon trading scheme. Google ‘china carbon cement’ and you’ll find out all about it.

    Also with a tax or trading scheme :
    The eu
    17 US States

    This is coming fast and the excuse that others aren’t or won’t is over. Plan for the future.

  10. Don Brown says:

    Not only is climate change a foreign policy issue, most Americans are completely unaware of the barrier to a globe solution that the United States has been at key points in the over 20 year history of international climate negotiations, a role that makes it much more likely that hundreds of millions of people around the world will suffer from climate change.

  11. BJ Propst says:

    how did the 2005 Energy Bill get passed with exemptions from air and water acts by oil co’s? Leave it to Dick Cheney to kill living beings like he did on 911. Fracking for years and 2 administrations allow it, not caring about the eco system.

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yes Mike, it really is up the USA now. Plenty have been doing their bit around the world but the negotiations always run into American obstruction and intransigence. This may have looked like a winner when the USA was rich and influential but a lot of that wealth and clout has been squandered. I think it depends now whether the USA clings to her myths or gets real enough to cooperate in her own interests. The power that comes out of the barrel of a gun cannot be sustained by a faltering economy and declining confidence, ME

  13. Dan B says:

    Ms. Browning;

    I’m with you in being terrified and angry at the same time.

    If you started a petition on-line to demand that Dem’s speak up, send it to the top dozen Dem’s, Obama, Biden, Reid, Pelosi, party chair, etc. I’d sign it and pass it around to friends. I’d bet, Climate Central, etc. would pass it around if it were simply a call to just start talking about the climate and the solutions.

    Thanks for your clear outrage!

  14. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Unfortunately, Mike, the ruling elites in the USA and its ‘Atlanticist’ allies in Europe are determined to ‘bring China down’, as Huntsman let slip during one of the Republican Presidential candidate debates. And he was Ambassador to China!!!??? This is the ‘Clash of Civilizations’ phase twenty-four, or thereabouts. The ruling elites in the West believe that they are the apotheosis of humanity, and no ‘Asiatic’ will ever be allowed to claim equality, let alone supremacy. I think, however, that China will find numerous allies in defying the dying Empire. Whether that results in action to avert ecological calamity is debatable. It is, however, our best hope. The USA will remain a plutocracy in thrall to its economic elites.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Point of clarification. GW Bush did not win in 2000 and 2004, but still was imposed as President. ‘Democ-crazy’ is infinitely elastic.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Exactly. The supposed obsession with ‘jobs’ is a lie wrapped in humbug and wreathed by a smokescreen. The Bosses are only concerned with maximised profits. The sort of jobs they prefer are low-paid, powerless, precarious and, if necessary, overseas.

  17. At least the 2nd Presidential debate got in a mention of immigration. My question would “How many climate immigrants are will will in accept as penance for the damage that we are willfully inflicting in the name of growth and jobs.”

    Of course, it won’t be asked and if it were it would be danced around like a May Pole.

  18. Mike Roddy says:

    The countries you mentioned just put their toes in the water compared to what needs to be done. Norway is looking for more oil, for example. Australia didn’t cancel its $80 billion in coal export deals. The other countries’ schemes don’t price carbon high enough to preclude its expansion, never mind continued use.

    I was talking about real action. Anything else is just playing games, given what we are facing.

  19. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    No, we would just get a bigger fence.

  20. Ben Lieberman says:

    Climate change is a foreign policy and security issue as well as a domestic issue, even if some (like a certain New York Time blogger think it should not be mentioned in a domestic policy debate). The problem is that those who pass as serious foreign policy experts among the media and punditry are vastly and utterly ignorant of many issues and of large parts of the world. On Monday we should expect to hear about Libya, Israel, Iran, terrorism, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China because that’s the way Bob Schieffer (channeling recieved wisdom) apparently likes it–unless he breaks with his announced topics.

  21. Paul Klinkman says:

    Climate change will look real when enough ordinary people are going far out of their way to come to grips with solving it.

    When an engineering student drops out of a nice career, lives poor for years, and tries to invent cheaper solar so that oil will be left in the ground, something’s up.

    When one businessperson, or even better, when 100 businesspeople, workers and heat consumers all working in the same low-profit company, put their families at a slight risk of going cold and hungry, in order to rush cheaper solar products to market, something’s up. If the businesspeople confess that they absolutely despise big business and would only do this because of climate change, something is really up.

    Sometimes certain people don’t ever snap out of it unless one or more ordinary people are suffering right in front of them for a long time. You can carry a picket sign and vigil. You can also go to jail. However, if I were you I’d try to live the coolest possible life, giving over your whole heart, your whole mind and your hands for the protection of your family’s descendents.

    Oh yeah, and the pro-coal candidates stink.

    “You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God; It was never between you and them anyway.” — Mother Teresa.

  22. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Why should the “media and punditry” educate themselves about the world when most Americans think the USA is the world? And if it isn’t, then there is something wrong with ‘them’ for not being like ‘us’, ME

  23. Anne says:

    One working theory is that Team Obama has gone underground with a stealth climate policy, as a way to protect their actions to reduce CO2 emissions through a large variety of actions across the board. The rationale behind this theory, which I think has some credence, is that to highlight climate change as a stand-alone issue (as important and all-encompassing as it is) by being too vocal about it is also to paint a big red target on it for the denier community and entrenched and wealthy corporate interests in fossil fuels. That a big White House climate initiative would be attacked, shot down, and killed is a likely scenario: there are simply too many “enemies” in powerful places, well-funded, armed, and dangerous. The end result could possibly be LESS real progress on addressing the issue, in the long run; more progress is possible “in hiding” and behind the scenes than out in the open and thus more vulnerable. There’s no real way to test the theory except to take a deep look, program by program, policy by policy, to measure results against the programs and policies of previous administrations. And that’s what really matters anyway, right? If they are walking the walk without talking the talk, that’s much better than the inverse. Personally, I like this theory, and cross my fingers that it’s correct.

  24. Lionel A says:

    ‘Democ-crazy’ is infinitely elastic.

    Ah! Yes Mulga, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, etc.

    On the main page there Palast has a story about Mitt’s ‘Bailout Bonanza’.

    If the US lets Romney win then this campaign to reign in CO2 gets a whole lot harder. It is enough that our leaders in the UK are going wobbly on carbon targets with all manner of nonsense about including another ‘effort’ from Roger Harrabin at the BBC ‘UK experiences ‘weirdest’ weather‘ – he who brought the world the Phil Jones, ‘…no statistically significant [at the 95% confidence level] global warming since 1995‘ gem. What with this and David Rose it seems that the media here have been given a job to do – prop up fossil fuel interests.

    Thus I agree with Mike Roddy’s POV , as usual.

  25. caroza says:

    China is way, way ahead on green tech biggest solar exporter in the world at the moment. They’re building coal plants too but they don’t have their heads in the sand about climate the way the US does. Germany is producing the biggest energy percentage in the world from renewables. Spain is building massive solar panel installations. (Is that where the solar ditch project is? think so). Toe in the water? Maybe, but at least they’re not sprinting up the beach in the wrong direction like the US. I think sanctions is going to have to be the route – that and a change of international currency. We can’t wait for the US to wake up any longer.

  26. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    If you attempt to trade, particularly in hydrocarbons, in currencies other than the US dollar, then you and your country will be made to regret it. Just ask Saddam and Gaddafi.

  27. Merrelyn Emery says:

    It’s always a bad strategy to go it alone, quite different to organize a large and powerful group to do it, ME

  28. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Yep. Hang in there Anne, ME

  29. Jan says:

    There is no doubt in my mind that Obama will do more to decrease emissions than will Romney. If enough deprive Obama of their votes by voting for Stein, Romney may win. Those may well be the consequences.

    So, I will will vote for Obama, because that is my best shot.