(Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by Nove foto da Firenze)

By now most of us have seen photos and heard reports of the heartrending loss of life and destruction from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. The monster storm has affected 11 million people and destroyed 670,000 homes. Blown-out towns have been reduced to grim junkyards of rubble. It seems beyond words. But words and images are all we have from afar, so I will ask a few questions and try to connect a few dots.

The shock of this sheer devastation has aroused the compassion of the American people, perhaps evoking memories of September 11. But at the same time, not enough of us are talking about the connection between extreme weather incidents and climate change. There is a grim irony in the fact that the UN Conference on Climate Change was meeting in Warsaw at the same time as Haiyan. It’s an outrageous reality that this body has reached no agreement about curtailing greenhouse gases and global warming.

This is basically because the United States Congress steadfastly refuses to pass any clean energy legislation commensurate to the clear and present danger of catastrophic global warming, despite Super Storm Sandy, droughts, floods, and wildfires on our own shores. Why is this, especially since the majority of Americans support its government taking action to fight global warming? One can only conclude that our government values profits of the dirty energy sector over the well-being and lives of their own citizens.

(Credit: CC-BY-NC-SA by NASA Goddard Photo)

Will monster typhoon Haiyan be a wakeup call for the American people? Will we begin to connect the dots between the staggering inaction of our Congress and the immense donations from dirty energy to members of Congress? The funding of an army of D.C. lobbyists together with the scurrilous global warming science denial front groups have been pulling the wool over U.S. voters’ eyes.

I leave you with two hopes. The first is that American industry and its leaders and CEOs will wake up to the fact that extreme weather from catastrophic global warming is not good for business. Just look at the towns leveled by typhoon Haiyan. Could any concern do business there? In our globally interconnected system of production and distribution, the effects of extreme weather from global warming threaten to kill the goose that lays the golden egg. The hope is that business leaders in America will finally break with dirty oil and demand clean energy legislation and economy from simple pragmatism and self-preservation.

The other is that the good and compassionate American people will wake up to the fact that something is wrong here in the face of the ghastly destruction of monster storm Haiyan and the extreme weather hitting all around the planet and connect the dots to well-established science to our burning of fossil fuels despite the deafening silence of corporate, mainstream media. It is only another step for voters to demand from their representatives in Congress to pass rational, common sense, and yes, patriotic legislation to address the destruction of catastrophic global warming by rapidly transitioning to a clean energy economy with the million of good jobs and security that this would afford.

Big Oil and dirty energy have fostered the ignorance, gullibility, and sense of despair in the American public about any change to our fossil-fuel energy policy and fighting global warming through the power of their pocketbooks along with the shameless right-wing media machine.

But what dirty energy is not counting on is the fact that every state in the union, red and blue, now hosts a majority of voters who believe climate science and want their government to do something significant to fight global warming, often as much as two-thirds to over 80 percent. America is no longer blue or red in its desire to tackle human-created global warming—it’s green.

A time and cost-effective action is to simply take a few minutes and phone your House representatives and U.S. senators you can send a powerful message to Congress that they work for We The People and not dirty energy. Demand legislation that is as serious as the global warming and extreme weather it is meant to fight. Politicians take these calls very seriously because they like their jobs. If enough of us do this, Congress will get the message that America is green in the face of catastrophic global warming.

Or ask your friends to call their representatives, or put together a calling breakfast with them, or organize calling through your place of worship or any groups you belong to. The way to overcome the sense of powerlessness dirty energy desires you to feel is to realize that you have had the power all along.

By getting involved to the degree that your time and means permit, you will multiply your investment of time and money, as well as benefit from the warm encouragement of joining hands with fellow concerned citizens to fight global warming.

Our present way of life, economy, and civilization and the future of our children and grandchildren rest with us this very day. Will we take back our democracy? Will we seize our rights and power as citizens for our economy, way of life, very lives, and future generations?

What will you do?

David Weinstein is a professional writer and co-wrote the feature film Big Trouble In Little China. He graduated cum laude from UC Berkeley earned a masters in counseling psychology with honors from CIIS.


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