Boomers, I’m ashamed. Are you?
It’s time for us boomers to retire and stop obstructing the cleanup of our climate mess.
I’m part of the boomer generation and I’m ashamed. Are you ashamed? I wish more boomers were ashamed. But instead we are still terrorizing the planet, hoarding most of the wealth and power, voting like idiots, and doing everything else we can to perpetuate the hellish climate mess we’ve created. How long will it be until our destruction is irreversible?
The Sequoia trees and Redwoods on the west coast of North America, the world’s most majestic, will soon be gone. Some are being logged for profit, any that are not may be casualties of climate change fueled wildfires. One estimate says there are less than 3% of them left, but no government is moving to protect them. Instead governments have stood by while police have arrested more than 1000 people protesting what should be seen as a disgusting logging crime.
But it’s not a crime. If you can believe it, by some twisted definition, created and blessed by our generation, cutting down these trees has been placed in the category of ‘sustainable’ activity. While we’re on the subject of asinine legalities, oil companies and other polluters are now suing governments all over the world under the World Bank’s Energy Charter Treaty for a total of $18 billion. Why? Because these governments passed pollution laws that hurt their businesses.
Again this insane charter was created by our generation to protect the right of polluters to destroy the planet for free. Meanwhile the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air in Austin, Texas, estimates that burning fossil fuels is responsible for 4.5 million deaths annually, and economic losses of US$2.9 trillion every single year – that’s $2,900,000,000,000.00 every year.
I suppose you could say there is some good news. Some executives are being brought to trial over ‘Dieselgate,’ a black eye for the auto industry that involved the creation and installation of software that helps cars get approval for compliance to greenhouse gas emissions, then turns off the emissions limiters and lets them pollute our air like crazy. Volkswagen is most often named because they installed it on 11 million cars, but Ford, Daimler, Renault, Opel, Fiat and others are also allegedly involved.
Anyway, they are being prosecuted. Oh, how many people are on trial, you ask? Umm, four. Yes, just four. Of course, anyone who knows anything about corporate life realizes that these four have been selected as scapegoats, but Dieselgate could not have happened without the willing complicity of at least 100 people both above and below them, inside these car companies.
Dieselgate is a perfect metaphor for how we all rationalize the wrongs in this world and simply look the other way. There is more than a grain of truth to the cliché that if you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem. We still vote for populists who protect polluters, buy gas guzzling SUVs, and gas furnaces, when there are better clean products available.
We have chosen sheep-like groupthink, belief in obvious misinformation, apathy, excuses, procrastination, and myopia over the health of children, everyone else, and the planet. We express shock and awe when there’s a spike in wildfires, melting and floods, but we do little to support laws to protect some percentage of the quickly disappearing biodiversity, wildlife, pollinators, let alone encourage clean energy and electric cars.
We’re probably nodding with approval that the men at Volkswagen are being brought to justice, but really they are just a representative sample of the so-called adults on this planet. Their actions are our actions. We’ve been letting this happen for decades, while pretending that we are powerless.
When you’re writing your will and prepping your obituary you can borrow this line from those of the car company people: “Knowingly chose profits and career advancement over the lives of people, health of children and planet. RIP.”
Maybe I’m being too harsh. Some boomers are good people, working tirelessly to turn things around, but if you’re not, then do us all a favour and at minimum, shut up and quit voting for morons. It’s time for numerous loudmouthed boomers to retire and stop obstructing young people who are trying to implement solutions to clean up our mess, and have some kind of life for themselves on a semi-habitable planet. There, I’ve said it.