In the telling of the later versions of the Genesis tale of Noah and the Ark (those not in the original Biblical accounts), the people are shown mocking Noah and his family for wasting a century in constructing the large vessel that would sustain them and the selected animals during the flood. In other versions, they ignore Noah’s warnings to build arks of their own so they avoid the cataclysm that God intended for Earth. Today, with a significant portion of the Trump (formerly Republican) Party denying the existence of human-made climate change, it is easy now to see the Genesis Flood story as one of climate change with Noah as the protagonist warning people of the natural catastrophe that was about to be unleashed and the rest of the populace denying and ridiculing him until it was too late. Today, it is the scientists warning of the consequences of our actions and inactions on climate change and it is the Trump Administration, in denying its own far-reaching report, that are not heeding the lessons of history and pursuing policies to combat the problem while it still can be.
We need to pay heed to the environmental lessons of Noah and the Ark.
It is ironic that the now Trump Party in its former Republican Party form once embraced and championed science, land conservation, and environmental protection. It was a Republican President Theodore Roosevelt that helped develop the United States Forest and Park Services. It was a Republican President Dwight Eisenhower, following the launch of Sputnik, who oversaw the creation of N.A.S.A. and the start of the space race. It was a Republican President Richard Nixon that signed the legislation that created the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) and Clean Air Act.
The Republican Party war on science started in the late 1970’s and 1980’s when Democrats in rural, southern, and sunbelt areas, on their way to becoming Republicans partially because of civil rights, protested the regulatory policies of the new E.P.A. in areas such as mining, farming, water management, and other environmentally sensitive areas.
These new Republicans, along with like-minded corporate types, found a receptive ear in President Ronald Reagan who appointed officials (including the mother of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorusch) to the E.P.A. and Interior Departments who were friendly to relaxing environmental regulations. This sea change in the Republican Party attitude towards science and the environment would be shown in acts by the George W. Bush and Donald Trump Administrations (as well as obstructionist Republicans in Congress when Barack Obama was President). These included:
- The withdrawal of the United States from the Kyoto Climate Accords during the Bush Administration.
- The refusal to invest in Green Energy Infrastructure Projects.
- Forgetting the 1979 uranium spill in Church Rock, New Mexico, seeking to mine portions of national parks like the Grand Canyon.
- Not holding corporations accountable that were responsible for climate disasters like the Exon Valdez in Alaska in 1989 or the BP Deepwater Disaster off the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.
- Becoming the only nation to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords.
The Republican (now Trump) Party has launched such an all-out war on science that:
- A congressman from Alabama, Mo Brooks, (see youtube link below) publicly offered that the cause for rising sea levels were falling rocks from the coastline.
- The new head of N.A.S.A. (see link below), Jim Bridenstine, had to walk back earlier comments denying climate change.
- The President of the United States not believing the Fourth National Climate Assessment and environmental reports by the United Nations that humanity is in economic and physical danger if both projected global temperatures and sea levels continue to rise.
- Republican public servants persist in challenging the notion that climate change is caused by human acts (it is) and, even it were, environmental regulation would cost jobs and cripple the economy (it would not).
We live in a world where nine of the ten hottest years have occurred since 2005. Wildfires are raging in California every year and now even in the winter. States like Arizona, because of continual urban and suburban development coupled with low annual amounts of rainfall, are in danger of having a severe water shortage declared. Mining interests, despite an Obama era ban, want to mine for uranium in the Grand Canyon National Park, ignoring concerns that any contamination of the Colorado River would affect the precarious water supply of Americans in four states that depend on the resource for thousands of years. polar ice caps are melting and floating away from the poles. There are lines of plastic garbage debris floating through some of our oceans.
What does our the popular vote loser leader say and do? Bury the environmental report on Black Friday in the hopes no one would notice (that did not work.) Grab a rake to clean up the forests. Climate change is a hoax.
Many will perish
People run the risk of becoming like those who did not heed Noah and his family when they built the ark. If humanities leaders do not take action (be it instituting a carbon tax, going to total wind and solar, water recycling, greater regulation, or a green infrastructure plan, building on what the Obama Administration did, or an all of the above approach), many will perish and those who survive will have an uncomfortable existence. The citizens need to take a proactive approach and launch sustainability green-friendly programs from the local to the global levels that will alter the trajectory of our environmental conditions. Those influential individuals that preach this is a hoax, there is nothing to worry about, and environmental regulation will hurt jobs and the economy needs to be shunned and rejected for the charlatans they are. To not do this will result in those people suffering the same fate as those who could not hitch a ride with Noah and his boat.