TERROR IN MEXICO, HOPE IN PARIS

When the United Nations was founded seventy years ago, nobody but a science fiction writer could have imagined that human beings would one day threaten the very climate of the planet. Too ridiculous to think about. Yet seventy years later, the largest Pacific hurricane in the history of the hemisphere is roaring towards the coast of Mexico, set to claim the latest victims of climate disruption.

Larger, more frequent, and more intense storms – just as predicted. And, as it happens, 2015 is shaping up to be the hottest year in recorded history.

At the groundbreaking for the U.N. on October 24, 1945, U.S. President Harry Truman said that the challenges of the day were no longer “impersonal natural forces,” but human relationships. In the 21st century, the two have combined: human hubris and short-sighted greed have made natural forces very personal indeed. Just ask the victims of Katrina or Sandy.

Truman’s words that day are just as true today: “The real dangers confronting us today have their origins in outmoded habits of thought, in the inertia of human nature, and in the preoccupation with supposed national interests to the detriment of the common good.” He went on to say that the U.N. could promote “a spirit of reasonableness” that would address these challenges. He had hope, he said.

I want to have hope, I really do. It’s too late to stop Hurricane Patricia from slamming Mexico, but some scientists think we still have time, time for humanity to demonstrate “a spirit of reasonableness” and leave our great grandkids a habitable planet. I pray that’s so.

I don't have grandkids, but I have a nephew with kids and they are doing their part...

I don’t have grandkids, but I have a nephew with kids and they are doing their part…

At the end of November, world leaders will gather at a U.N. conference in Paris to – once again – discuss taking action to slow the climate crisis. Politics and corporate greed, much of it American, have colluded to stop meaningful U.N. action thus far. Secretary of State John Kerry says that this time, “failure is not an option.”

Except that it is. Corporate money talks.

For the love of God, and in honor of the Mexican people who will surely die in the storm tonight and in the flooding over the days to come (the only other category five storm ever to hit this area killed 1,800 people in 1959), can we please, please stop the madness?

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