This site is about future, and has often concentrated on the imminent threat to the planet's future: the Climate Crisis.
I haven't forgotten it in my recent concentration on Barack Obama and the presidential campaign. The peril is even more pronounced. The World Wildlife Fund (now calling itself just WWF) issued a new report which says that the Climate Crisis is happening faster and is stronger than previously predicted by, for example, the 2007 IPCC report. Carbon is building up in the atmosphere faster than predicted.
The next president can begin building a new green economy for America, which has many crucial benefits, including addressing the causes (the Stop It part) and the effects (the Fix It part) of the Climate Crisis. Though both candidates have talked about this, only Barack Obama has made it his first priority, talked about how he would do and why it is important.
But that won't be enough. As Bill McKibben points out, the U.S. must also be part of international agreements to address the global Climate Crisis. That's partly because there really isn't time left for the U.S. to go it alone and expect its green economy to influence other nations--when it comes to the planet as well as the nation, we're all in this together.
As McKibben says, "the world's governments are now nearing a real deadline: December 2009, when a negotiation session in Copenhagen is supposed to produce a new climate treaty, the successor to the Kyoto protocol." Again, McCain has paid lip service to the issue of global heating, but his general approach doesn't give me confidence that he will constructively negotiate and enter into a real climate treaty. I believe Barack Obama will, and I highly doubt that Al Gore would be supporting Obama and campaigning for him if he thought Obama won't.
Obama talks with credibility about returning to a respect for science, for the intellectual process in general, and a return to values of empathy and community. We're all in this together, as he often says.
John McCain is beholden to extreme right wing ideologues who won't let him lead on these issues. His VP candidate either doesn't think climate change is the result of human activity, or doesn't think it's relevant. What does that tell you about what the next four years would be like with McCain-Palin?
We all know that the world is waiting for Obama to be President. The international surveys make that clear, and Obama's short overseas tour this past summer showed that leaders are eager to work with him. America will get instant good will when he is elected, and that can mean a great deal in many areas of international importance, including the Climate Crisis and related environmental threats that require international cooperation to address.
Barack Obama has demonstrated the intelligence, grasp of issues, the temperament and the ability to inspire--all of which are necessary to addressing a crisis that is so large, so grave, so complex, so interwoven with other factors, and which will play out over so long a time.
While I have to admit I dreamed up a Barack Obama at least a decade ago, as recently as a year ago I didn't see a realistic chance that we would find such a leader in time. Well, we have found one who gives us a fighting chance, and that's all we can ask. And he's called on us to fight the good fight with him, to change the country and change the world. To me that really means, to try to save the world.
Lately, Obama has added this line to his stump speech, which has been heard by hundreds of thousands in the past few days: " We have to work like our future depends on it in these last few days, because it does."
We have to vote on Tuesday like our future depends on it, because it does.
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