Episode 22 – Three Ways the GOP is Destroying our Home

Welcome Friends, Neighbors and people everywhere. This is your host, Michael Nunes.

Welcome to the Twenty-Second episode of my podcast, The Power of Three. I want to help show you how harnessing the Power of Three can lead to a more fulfilling life, a life that celebrates our differences and our similarities, and accepts that we are part of the great web of life.

In this episode, I want to discuss the ways in which the GOP is destroying the future for our children, by destroying our planet. The Earth is our home. We have nowhere else to go. If we destroy this planet, or make it unlivable, billions of people will live lives filled with hunger, thirst and despair. Humans have it in our power to change the way we are treating our planet. We have the technology, or the ability to create that technology. That we are not doing so is a strong indictment against us.

We continue to exploit the resources of our planet with no regard for the other life that occupies our world, with the impression that we have a right to do so. The only right we have is our innate need to destroy what we see in the pursuit of wealth and greed. My belief is that this is profoundly immoral. We give little thought to the generations that will follow us, or the animal species that we are driving into extinction. We hunt other animals with no understanding of the complex relationships that exist within herds, or between herds and the environment. We call it sport, but no sport involves one side killing the other without any regard to the equality of the contest.

One of the two political parties in America, the GOP, appears hell-bent on stealing as much from the environment as they can in as little time as possible. They do not have any regard at all for the consequences of their actions. They will fight to increase their destruction even in the face of overwhelming evidence that human environmental destruction is driving the Earth toward ecological collapse. Nothing is off the table is their insane rush to destroy.

The GOP recently released their party platform. They expressly state that Climate Change is not a priority and may not even be real science. They also claim that the environment is fine and getting better every day. The platform goes further to express contempt for action on the climate crisis. This, despite the 15,000 scientists that recently released an article titled, “World Scientists warning to humanity: A second notice”. This article urged world leader to save our planet from environmental catastrophe. It is almost as though the GOP is purposely creating conditions for a human-induced Armageddon.

We know that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate. We know that humans activities cause it. We know that this will cause catastrophic droughts, flooding, and destruction of animal and plant species. Yet, the right does everything it can to make things worse. The damage that we cause is inestimable and is probably irreparable. How are future generations, if there are any humans left, going to view this generation? The possible repercussions are far worse than the Holocaust, other genocides, world war or slavery. The real question is, does the current generation of GOP leaders really care at all?

At immediate peril is the safety of our air and water. The conservative position is that air pollution is not a danger, that our air is actually too clean. They clearly do not understand the increases in incidence of asthma, COPD, heart damage, and lung cancer in people who do not smoke. According to www.lung.org, half the U.S. population currently lives with unhealthy levels of air pollution. This is about real life, not some virtual simulation on a PC somewhere. Real lives are at stake. Why does profit always trump life in conservative circles?

The conservative portrayal of environmental activists as extremists does nothing to change the underlying facts of environmental destruction. The right wing claims that the environment is improving, that our air and waterways are healthier than a few decades ago. Our air and waterways are cleaner because of the Clean Air and Water Act, which set pollution standards. Deregulating this act would allow corporations to continue to dump toxins into the water and pollutants into the air. Efforts to recycle have improved some parts of our environment while we have continued to destroy other vital parts of our ecosystem. The long-term costs to our planet are inestimable.

Scientists and the military agree that climate change is our single most pressing national security threat. The implications of a deteriorating climate are beyond anything that mankind has ever faced. The right wing claims that this is just extremist talk, and that Congress has a duty to stop that talk. It also claims that the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is biased, without presenting evidence in support. The right claims that the IPCC is a political mechanism, not an unbiased scientific institution. Clearly, the IPCC uses evidence produced by demonstrable science. This is an attack on free speech and the free exchange of scientifically important material, willful dismissal of a compelling existential threat to the American Republic, and to humanity itself.

So, what are the three most dangerous ways that conservative ideology is destroying our world? This list is a personal assessment and does not take all possible permutations into consideration. They may take other actions that prove even more destructive.

The first action that the right-wing is taking is to destroy governmental agencies that deal with environmental regulation and study climate science. Ryan Zinke and Donald Trump are purging climate scientists from the interior department, including one who contributed to an IPCC paper that won the Nobel Prize.

The agency foremost in the conservative mind is the EPA, the Environmental Protection Agency. They will destroy the agency by removing funding for scientific findings that they do not like, and firing scientists. Strangely, a Republican, Richard Nixon, created this agency. The agency is instrumental in ensuring cleaner air and water for all Americans. THE GOP wants to shift responsibility for the environment from the federal government to the states. Given the environmental destruction proposed on the right, this allows GOP dominated states to delay action on climate change and destroy more of the nations’ environment.

The agencies’ Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants is equally at risk. Coal is the single most dangerous carbon producer on Earth. There is no such thing as clean coal. Quite aside from its production of carbon, it also leads to serious pollutants, smog, soot, acid rain and the increase of mercury in the environment. Mercury is a known neuro-motor impediment. That is, it destroys lungs, kidneys and nervous systems, especially in fetuses.

Another agency on the chopping block is NOAA, the national Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They recently concluded that the Arctic is unraveling. Animals in the Arctic are dying at an unprecedented rate, destroying the most fragile ecosystem on our planet. According to the agency, massive pieces of Antarctica are also melting, sending vast amounts of fresh water into the Southern Ocean. Glaciers around the globe are vanishing, and given that they contain 69% of all fresh water on Earth, this has very real implications for humanity.

The GOP wants to shift responsibility from the federal government to the states. Given that the GOP runs most states, this frees industry to destroy our home at an accelerating pace. The GOP wants to give incentives to people to introduce new technologies, but there are no immediate incentives that allow corporations to take action to save our planet. It is in their interests to continue to exploit the Earth, regardless of the consequences.

As part of this action, conservatives want to stop environmental agencies from filing suit out of suit. If the EPA is found not doing its job, environmental agencies are allowed to sue to force it to perform its duties. The right wing wants to take this away, a clear violation of the First Amendment right to petition government.

The Second action by the GOP is leaving the Paris Accord. The right categorically rejects the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Accord. This makes the United States the only remaining nation on Earth that denies the reality of climate change and the dramatically detrimental effect that we are having. These agreements are set up to take immediate action to reduce the human impact on the planet. As it has done with more than forty international agreements, including agreements on the Rights of Children, Women and the abolition of torture, the United States refuses to sign on. This destructive isolationism places everyone in the nation at risk from adverse climate events.

The final act of destruction is the deregulation of industry. The GOP claims that regulation costs jobs, but environmental destruction on the scale that they are proposing is itself likely to destroy not just entire industries, but lay waste to vast stretches of the Earth, resulting in the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs, loss of life and a precarious future for us all. In point of fact, tackling climate change can potentially create hundreds of millions of jobs around the world as people recreate ecosystems that have been lost. Putting people to work to clean up the destruction that we have caused would keep millions fully occupied, and itself spur innovation.

Included in this action is a push to turn federal lands over to the states. This allows states to give land over to industries that can exploit the land without any responsibility for the environmental destruction that they cause. This will cause the destruction of some of this country’s most beautiful places, the national parks. 300 million people visit our national parks every year, bringing with them vast amounts of revenue that easily exceed that produced by the extractive industries.

The final push for environmental destruction is to remove all environmental protections. Their claim is that the environment is too important to be left to radical environmentalists. These actions would reverse 45 years of environmental progress.

The only reason that conservatives are stubbornly opposed to environmental regulation is to free industry to exploit our resources at a catastrophic pace. This is a clear and present danger to all life on Earth. Favoring a single set of industries, the oil, coal, gas and other extractive industries over human life and all life on Earth is destruction on a scale we have never seen. Only if people band together to stop this headlong rush to environmental destruction can we have a prayer of maintaining a future for our children, and all life on Earth.

Our nation and our planet cannot afford to have radical anti-regulation foremost on the nations agenda. We have a right to a clean, sustainable planet, clean air and water, and a reduction in toxins in our environment. We need to do whatever we can to push back against this unwarranted attack on our nation. We need concerted political action by all voters to push for the maintenance of environmental protections. This is not just for our children, but also for the entire planet. We need to press Congress for a return to international cooperation through agreements like the Paris Accord. If necessary, the North Eastern and western states should independently lobby to join the Paris Accord, regardless of the actions of Washington. Perhaps it is time for the North East and West to create an extra-governmental parliament to run their affairs. Washington has shown itself incapable of performing the duties that it has for the people of the United States. It is time to take our nation back.

I encourage you to continue to enhance your life with the Power of Three and search for the best possible life to live.

Until next time, go well my friends.

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