Pretending Something Doesn’t Exist Won’t Make It Go Away
At the Cleveland International Film Festival back in April I saw an excellent documentary titled The Age of Consequence. The movie dealt with the subject of climate change, but approached it from a different angle; that of national security. Retired, former and active duty military personnel from the United States gave evidence that many word events and unrest are a direct result of climate change and that this poses a definite threat to our nation’s security. Global warming and the spread of deserts in parts of the world are creating refugees on a massive scale not seen since the end of the Second World War. Many military officials see the resulting displacement of people as well as crop failures leading to failed states and a rise of terrorist organizations looking to exploit this problem.
It was eleven years ago that former Vice President Al Gore made his documentary An Inconvenient Truth where he presented solid scientific evidence that has been backed by more than 95% of climate scientists that the earth has been warming up at an accelerated rate since the dawn of the industrial revolution in the 19th century. In addition to consequences such as failed states and massive migrations, global warming could lead to rising sea levels that could inundate coastal areas and put many of our coastal cities under water by the end of the 21st century.
A few years ago at the film festival I saw another documentary titled The Island President that dealt with the President of the Maldives, an island chain in the Indian Ocean off the coast of India. His nation, a series of low lying islands, is slowly being drowned by rising sea levels as a result of climate change. The evidence was presented to the Copenhagen Climate Conference in 2009 and confirmed by scientists that the sea levels were rising and inundating the tiny island nation. President Obama attended this conference.
In 2016, 192 nations and the European Union signed the Paris Climate Agreement that agreed to limit the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in their country. The United States signed this agreement as well as China. This was the first international agreement addressing the problem of global warming and limiting the emission of greenhouse gases.
However now that Donald Trump is President, he is threatening to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Trump believes that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese. That flies in the face of massive scientific evidence that proves that greenhouse gases given off from the burning of fossil fuels has accelerated global warming. More than 95% of climate scientists agree that human activity is leading to global warming.
Under the Trump administration, the budget of the EPA has been slashed more than 30% and the web site about climate change has been shut down. In addition any mention of climate change on all official government web sites has been eliminated. The governor of Florida, Rick Scott another denier of human caused climate change, issued an executive order banning any mention of climate change or global warming in any official state publications and web sites.
Of all the major developed nations of earth, only in the United States is there widespread denial of human caused climate change. So where is this denial of the obvious coming from? A study was done a few years ago into the climate change denial and if one follows the money supporting the denial of human caused climate change, it leads to Big Oil and their supporters. One leading think tank supporting denial of global warming is the Cato Institute, a California based libertarian think tank that is heavily funded by the Koch Brothers. Most of the scientists that have published papers denying human caused climate change were funded by fossil fuel companies.
In the movie The Age of Consequence there is a former Army Captain who led troops in Afghanistan said, “when 97% of my intelligence tells me that there is an ambush up the road and only 3% of my intelligence tells me that there is no ambush; I will follow the 97% and take another road to avoid the ambush”. Yet shutting down web sites and suspending or cancelling research into climate change will not make it go away. It only postpones the obvious.
Like Mother Nature, she always strikes back and there is no denying the signs of nature. Nature doesn’t lie nor does nature spin things for a political agenda. It is time for the United States to heed the scientific evidence and recognize what science is saying.
I am a former high school science teacher and the scientific literacy in the United States has declined a lot in the past forty years. Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York said recently that the United States rejection of science could spell the end of the United States as a world leader. He said that a nation that denies or rejects science is a nation in decline.
As Dr. Tyson has said; it is time to “make America smart again”. Then perhaps when the nation is “smart again”, perhaps the United States could become “great again”. But no nation could ever become great or remain great when they ignore or reject science.
Lee has been working with Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance since he began working at the Erie County Welfare Department in January 1973 where a major part of his job was determining eligibility for Medicaid. He went into the private insurance business in 1977 with Prudential Insurance Company and within a short time had become one of the company’s top sales agents. In 1982, he was promoted into management where he managed two field offices and as many as thirteen sales agents. After leaving Prudential in 1986, Lee decided to become more focused on health insurance and employee benefits. He has advised many local employers on how to have a more cost effective employee benefit program as well as conducted employee benefit meetings and enrollments for many area employers. The companies Lee has worked with ranged from small “mom and pop” businesses to local operations of large national companies. Lee received his B.S. degree from Kent State University where he has been active in the local alumni association. He has completed seven of the ten courses toward the Certified Employee Benefit Specialist designation. He has taught courses in employee benefits and insurance at Cleveland State University and local community colleges. In addition, Lee is an experienced and accomplished public speaker. He has been a member of Toastmasters International where he achieved the designation of “Able Toastmaster – Silver” in 1994. He has also served as a club president, Area Governor and District Public Relations Officer in Toastmasters as well as winning local speech contests. Lee has also been a member of the Greater Cleveland Growth Association’s Speaker’s Bureau where he was designated as one of the “official spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” prior to the hall’s opening in 1995. He has given talks and presentations before many audiences including civic organizations, AARP chapters and many other community groups. With the implementation of the Medicare Modernization Act (Medicare drug bill) in 2006, Lee has shifted his focus to Medicare and helping Medicare beneficiaries navigate the often confusing array of choices and plans available. As an independent representative, Lee is not bound to any one specific company or plan, but he can offer a plan that suits an individual person’s needs and budget. In addition, Lee is well versed in the requirements and availability of various programs for assistance with Medicare part D as well as Medicaid. While he cannot make one eligible, he can assist in the process and steer one to where they may be able to receive assistance.