Already it has been nearly 20 years since the Kyoto Agreement was first signed (however ultimately failed), but the threat global warming presents to our global society only seeks to increase by the year. With 3 consecutive years of record-breaking global temperatures behind us, any sane person would rightfully be concerned about the state of our planet, but the recent innovations in fully renewable energy has unfortunately not been enough to offset the pollution from coal, natural gas and emissions from cars and factories emitted by countries still in their development stages (not quite in the same level of economic development as certain European nations).
Its repercussions are fully felt in my native South Korea: not to mention the increasingly abnormal weather patterns (we are literally on the verge of losing spring altogether), the heat waves are becoming even more deadlier, with hundreds of our elderly struck down by the unbearable inferno of the sun (or more precisely, solar radiation hopelessly trapped by the ever-increasing insane volume of greenhouse gases), many ultimately losing their lives too soon.
And with the evidence for climate change induced by human activity only proliferating by the day, we, as keepers of our one and only home planet, our lovely Earth, have struggled for years to dramatically reduce the speed of global warming. Our continued investments sometimes may not seem to be paying off superficially — many countries, especially the economically poorer ones, still haven’t allocated enough resources to develop clean energy sources – many still relying on obsolete fuels such as fossil fuels (petroleum) and coal — but indeed, they are providing us with a crucial stepping-stone for future generations yet to come, a generation which we must learn to cherish and protect if we are to leave them a legacy of hope and innovation, not despair and disasters (which we are seeing quite a substantial amount these days). Civilians, communities, non-profits, for-profits, even those damn greedy corporations are charging head-on to make even the slightest effort to preserve our one and only planet we could call home.
With the COP21 conference held less than two years ago in France, world leaders have reiterated their support for a more sustainable, eco-friendly economy, and nearly every country, I do mean almost EVERY country signed the Paris agreement pledging to “limit global temperature rise to less than 2%” above pre-industrial eras, to limit the amount of greenhouses gases produced by humans, and to essentially keep every country in check making sure that we are fully committed to creating a better world for our future children. Never had an agreement, after the United States pulling out of the Kyoto Agreement (a truly reprehensible act) eventually doomed it, with other nations refusing to comply to its guidelines, managed to unite our divided nations with such success, nearly 200 states formally signing the agreement. Not perfect by any means: It may not be a de facto legally-binding agreement like the Kyoto one, but of course, failing to comply to these standards may very well bring death for the whole global community. And signing the Paris agreement will be perceived to many as a virtuous display of morality, as well as a commitment to set an example to other countries with an ambition shared by many who hope to achieve all the promises held in the agreement by the end of the 21st century. Even my neighbors North Korea have signed the agreement. (Go figure!)
But, with his obviously infinite span of wisdom, cultivated by decades of foreign policy experience through secretly colluding with Russians during the election campaign, permeating every corner of the world with his grotesquely designed hotels and useless casinos (which he has bankrupt several on his own domestically), and with corrupt business dealings around the world, proven pathological liar, climate-change denier, racist, sexist, cheeto-faced rotund oaf, and pathetic excuse of a head of state Donald John Trump has swiftly pulled the United States out of the Paris Agreement.
Not surprising coming from a failure like him who, citing his numerous ‘epic’ business dealings with Russia (and the whole lot), has repeatedly claimed, much to the nation’s embarrassment, during his unbearable-to-watch presidential campaign that man made climate change was a hoax, perpetrated by the Chinese (?) to deter the United States from its goals (??) (again, the climate-change denial tweet). But we should very well be alarmed, and frightened, since this man, in his short 4-month reign over the United States, has fought tooth and nail to repeal and destroy everything that President Obama has implemented for the benefit for its citizens and seeks to implant misery on every American citizen (of course, including the ones who have wilfully voted for Donald Trump) already agonized by the acts of the Trump administration. Donald Trump has attempted, every time failing (like the man he really is), to destroy the Affordable Care Act which may not be perfect, but has already saved the lives millions of Americans whose would certainly never see the light of day again had it not been Obama’s gracious effort to reform healthcare in America. Again, guided by his infinite knowledge of foreign policy, he had the gall to battle with the courts over his unconstitutional travel ban on Muslim countries (which would have made an unmendable rift between Western and Islamic society, but that’s a topic for another essay). This bloody ‘administration’ is already delegitimizing over four decades of prolific work done by the Environmental Protection Agency, a major force behind cleaning up America’s once-toxic and disease-inducing shores and rivers and the protection of its environment.
If a president won’t even take a share of his time to actually listen to his constituency – even worse, stripping them of their healthcare and destroying their lands, in what universe would he reserve any iota of respect for our global community?
Any form of resentment or fury that I harbor against that poor excuse of a ‘president’ is, however, quickly overshadowed by the ominous prospects of disasters to come to our dying planet. Island nations like Tuvalu and the Maldives are quickly sinking into the oceans due to the rising sea levels. Human crises from climate change are on the rise. Once lush vegetation in certain areas of the continents are receding, moving towards more favorable climates, changing the state of our flora forever. Droughts are more common. Crops are dying. Our planet is dying. People are dying.
We are dying.
In this vast universe, of all that planets that may be within our reach, only the Blue Marble would possess all the ideal conditions necessary for intelligent life. It is one of the extremely few reachable planets that are within the Goldilocks Zone of an orbiting star (or the circumstellar habitable zone (CHZ)) AND that retains liquid water AND that has succeeded in originating life AND through millions of years of evolution through natural selection, has come to harbor intelligent life. (Possibly the only one.)
There is no other home for us. This is it. We are made to live here. We’ll die elsewhere.
It is not simply a ‘grave mistake’ on the part of the US administration, as President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron rightfully stated, but unfortunately he came too short. This cowardly retract from the Paris agreement, crudely veiled as an opportunity to go forth with Trump’s questionable (and quite frankly ridiculous) ‘America First’ policies (whatever that may mean today) and an ambition to somehow ‘save’ the filthy, already-on-life-support coal industry (at a time when almost every country has ditched coal for sustainable energy sources), should be called out for what it really is:
It is an act of deliberate ignorance fed by the liar-in-chief’s conflated egotistic qualities.
It is an act of aggression towards the well-being of our only home, Planet Earth.
It is a crime against humanity.
It is an act of war.
Possibly nothing might convince Donald Trump to recognize the error of his ways, even after his stupid Mar-A-Lago estate in West Palm Beach is for certain in the near future found in the bottom of the Atlantic, by then which it would be too late to do anything about our planet. Therefore, it is up to us – the moral majority, the 97%, the proud habitants of Planet Earth – to rescue it from its impending demise. A threat as big as this can only be defeated through a major collective effort – the remaining nations in the Paris agreement, the non-profits, us civilians, must cooperate more than ever today in the 21st century.
Fight. Resist. For what is ours and what becomes of it solely depends on us, and us only.
Our Earth needs us.
June 4th, 2017 – Jinseob Sohn, LE POINT BLEU