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David Backes
Author and educator who aspires to become a real human being.
Author and educator who aspires to become a real human being.

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Houston’s approach to rebuilding in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is both predictable and disastrous. And it illustrates the problems that many of our coastal cities large and small will face as the growing storm of climate destruction bears down on the United States.

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Yes, we need empathetic leaders who seek the common good. But “waiting” is no solution. We must take responsibility. And we usually have to choose between a god-awful candidate like the ones in the first paragraph and someone who may be a person of better character but who likely has little understanding of the great storm of destruction headed our way. Right now, the Republican Party is dominated by leaders whose denial of science threatens the next hundred generations, and who show a growing tendency to promote racism, xenophobia, and other forms of disgusting bigotry. My response? Vote. Them. All. Out.

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My newest at The Earth Keeper. Excerpt:
Santa Fe High School student Paige Curry spoke to a TV reporter after Friday morning’s Texas school shooting in plain, soft-spoken, brutal English. This is a must-watch 30 seconds. We have utterly failed the children, and her resignation speaks volumes to all those “thoughts and prayers” politicians who refuse to take action. It speaks volumes to the evil of the NRA, a homegrown cult of violence. Listen up, anti-life party: For years you fraudulently claimed President Obama was a secret Muslim who would take your guns away. Well, one day these kids who have lived with the terror your ideology has caused will wrest away your political power and they will indeed take away your guns. And it will be your own fault. Your own fault for refusing to face reality and follow common sense.

In the same way, and for the same reasons, you have denied the reality and urgency of human-caused climate change. Your propagandists have succeeded in delaying effective action for 30 years from the time prudent leaders would have begun. You have fraudulently attacked the science and the scientists, and claimed that it is a hoax to create “big government.” Well, guess what? These same kids whose lives you have subjected to fears of school shootings will also grow old in a destabilized world created by your fears of big government. And they will have just one option left by the time they wrest control away from your twisted hands: they will have to force government on a scale larger than you even feared. You will have left them no choice....

Thoughts and prayers are helpful if they lead to action. If not, they are nothing but pious cynicism.

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THIS is what pro-life looks like:

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A federal report on a growing crisis of toxins in the nation’s water remains hidden after the White House and the EPA intervened to prevent its release to the public, Politico reported Monday.

One Trump official said the report would cause a “public relations nightmare.”

Evidently Trump and the Republican Party worry more about politically toxic facts than they do about life-threatening toxins in our water. That’s the anti-life party at work.

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My newest at The Earth Keeper. Excerpt:
When the little children of today reach middle age and finally begin wresting power from the deniers in Congress and those who are complicit in their silence, their righteous anger in many cases may well turn into destructive rage, for by then it will be too late. Too late to keep the gathering storm from doing its worst.

The poorest parts of the world will already have been reeling from climate-related devastation, and the United States will be seen as the pariah it is, for we had the moral responsibility and the power to do something, and we refused.

By that point we, too, will be reeling. The Southwest will be withering with mega-drought, and water shortages will leave many desperate. High-tide flooding and storm surges and devastating hurricanes will force growing numbers of Americans to move away from the Gulf and south Atlantic coasts; property values will plunge, insurers will pull out, and FEMA–already in financial peril in 2018–will not exist. The government will have no money to cope with the mounting devastation.

Meanwhile, millions of Mexicans and Central Americans will increasingly take the only option left in the wake of record-breaking drought and deadly heat waves and the civil uprisings those conditions foment: force their way across the US border.

This is the world the Republicans are forcing upon us. The anti-life party. And the Trump Administration’s action, not even mentioned in the Washington Post or New York Times, may well be seen as a tipping point.

There's much more at the link:

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My newest at The Earth Keeper. Excerpt:
"No graver threat faces the future of South Florida than the accelerating pace of sea-level rise. In the past century, the sea has risen 9 inches in Key West. In the past 23 years, it’s risen 3 inches. By 2060, it’s predicted to rise another 2 feet, with no sign of slowing down."

So begins the first article in a major effort by South Florida’s major newspapers, along with PBS and NPR, implicitly reading the riot act to a state whose Republican governor, Rick Scott, has not only ignored climate science but has placed gag orders on public discussion of it by state employees....

Florida, one of the Republican-controlled states steeped in climate science denial, also happens to be Ground Zero for the disaster to come from rising sea levels. Its major media are trying to break through the denial so that the state can be at least somewhat prepared for the gathering storm heading its way:

"Water levels could easily be 2 feet higher in 40 years. And scientists say that’s a conservative estimate. Because of melting ice sheets and how oceans circulate, there’s a chance South Florida’s sea level could be 3 feet higher by 2060 and as much as 8 feet by 2100, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"It’s not just a matter of how much land we’re going to lose, though the barrier islands and low-lying communities will be largely uninhabitable once the ocean rises by 3 feet. It’s a matter of what can be saved. And elsewhere, how we’re going to manage the retreat."...
Follow the link for the rest.

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My newest at The Earth Keeper. Excerpt:
Faced with a rapidly approaching “Day Zero” that would force the city to shut off municipal water to its more than 3.7 million residents, Cape Town officials in January launched an interactive Google map that allows people to see which households are staying within the water use limits–and which ones are not....

The average American uses 88 gallons of water per day. Imagine having to cut back to the 13 gallons set as the limit in Cape Town, or even the 37-gallon limit imposed in Sydney.

Soon, many Americans won’t have to imagine it. They will be living it. Without urgent action to control fossil fuels, according to a 2016 study, much of the American Southwest is likely in the next few decades to begin experiencing mega-droughts as severe as the Dust Bowl but lasting far longer–three decades or more. The odds of one coming this century are 99 percent if precipitation decreases, as widely expected, and 90 percent if it remains the same. Water shaming will be the least of the worries of those living through it.

“This will be worse than anything seen during the last 2,000 years and would pose unprecedented challenges to water resources in the region,” said Toby Ault, a professor of earth science at Cornell University and lead author of the study, in a statement accompanying prior research. “As we add greenhouse gases into the atmosphere—and we haven’t put the brakes on stopping this—we are weighting the dice for mega-drought conditions.”...

A great storm is gathering, America, and its outer edges are already upon us. Our window of opportunity to greatly lessen the damage is rapidly closing. Water shortages, and water shaming, are coming. Many will be forced to drastically cut their water use; eventually, if we don’t take enough action now, even that won’t be enough, and masses of people will move out of the Southwest. Meanwhile, with rising sea levels causing constant nuisance flooding and hurricanes pushing deadly waters ever farther inland, millions of Americans also will be forced to move away from the East and Gulf coasts.

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My newest at The Earth Keeper. The news that Scott Pruitt once bought a house with an Oklahoma lobbyist whose interests he advocated in the state senate serves as a gentle reminder that it's time for an updated version of the Crosby, Stills and Nash song "Our House." So I wrote one. It starts like this:

"I’ll light the fire, you place the money in the case that you bought today.
Staring at the cash for hours and hours while I listen to you
Play big oil songs all night long for me, only for me."

Follow the link for the rest....

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The hatred Kaepernick has received for his courageous determination to address this nation’s racism only proves his points. “I’ve realized that our love, that sometimes manifests itself as black rage, is a beautiful form of defiance against a system that seeks to suppress our humanity,” Kaepernick said. Amen.
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