#climatesilence2012 in tweets

Welcome blogging class! Just a quick update from last week–not one hour after posting, I had a minor infraction in which I was approached with a hot dog and completely forgot about my mission to abstain from eating meat. So I took a bite. Rest assured that I felt very bad once I realized, a full 15 minutes afterwards. Then Dave ate a sausage breakfast sandwich, so we declared it even and are starting afresh. Let us be a lesson as to how quickly we forget our commitments…

Other than that I’ve been enjoying alternatives to meat. For example, on Saturday I went to Korea House and was pleasantly surprised at how many delicious tofu, noodle and seafood options there are in korean food. I got the spicy tofu soup with some mussels and shrimp; it was incredible. Conversely, for the vegetarians out there, the absolute worst idea on campus is getting the vegetarian paella at Chef James, it’s just the worst.


Now for more pressing matters. With the election less than 2 weeks away, people should be pretty set to align themselves in favor of Mittens or Pres Barry. A lot of debate airtime this week was focused on domestic issues this campaign (taxes, economy, the auto bailout, women, binders) and a lot less time vaguely addressing foreign policy issues (Iraq, China) in comparison. But have you noticed how much time the candidates spent discussing climate change in the last debate? The future of mankind? Here’s a sampling of reactions in the Twittersphere this week:

A tweet from my class blog, 350 dot org:

@350 2012′s Presidential debates make history: the first debates since we knew about the climate crisis to ignore it entirely. #climatesilence

One of my environmental heroes, Bill McKibben:

@billmckibben Almost certain they’re planning to take up climate change at the next debate. That’s what I heard. #climatesilence http://math.350.org

And the man who fostered every kid’s love for science with entertainment and curiosity:

Bill Nye @TheScienceGuy Big Debate tonight. Let’s push for a question about the environment or climate change. 

The decision by the candidates, moderators, and voters at large to ignore the immediacy of climate change is not good news. As Greenpeace points out, we’ve heard a bit about clean energy in the debate, but without the “controversy” of climate change:

Greenpeace USAGreenpeace USA‏@greenpeaceusa Talking about energy without talking about climate change. #climatesilence again #debates

The shocking silence of both candidates on this topic inspired a Twitter hashtag movement, #climatesilence. Prominent Tweeters like Al Gore, Bill McKibben, Bill Nye and I all tweeted about Climate Silence and garnered thousands of retweets from their friends. Bill Nye!

Indeed, their reluctance to discuss foreign policy (particularly any specifics) and international relations was the first red flag that we would not be hearing much about climate change this election cycle. It is, after all, “global” warming, fundamentally a foreign policy issue, then an environmental justice issue. And if candidates and voters only concern themselves with immediate issues, albeit in critical fields – healthcare, immigration, gay rights, jobs – we will never be able to work together and compromise with other countries to solve this issue. We are facing the biggest crisis of all time, and the sense of urgency we felt in 2008 for climate change has gone out. We can’t be bothered to plan for the future, to reduce the suffering of future generations, but instead will continue to focus on immediate domestic issues that are very important but ultimately cannot constitute 100% of our concerns.

“Climate change is a global threat that requires a global response. Yet neither candidate saw fit to address climate change’s implications for foreign policy,” said Erich Pica, president of the environmental group Friends of the Earth Action. “By ignoring climate change, both President Obama and Governor Romney are telling the rest of the world that they do not take it seriously, and that America cannot be expected to act with the intensity and urgency needed to avert catastrophe.”

HuffingtonPost: Climate Change Not Mentioned In Presidential Debates For First Time In A Generation

From the idealistic and lazy college student to the future leader of our country, none of us cannot afford to be silent. I exhort you, candidates, to seriously wrestle with this issue! You need to gather your team of Bill Nyes and Tyson de Grasses and decide how much of US resources can we appropriate to the end of climate change.  This issue will literally never go away until we are all dead and it becomes a moot point. Don’t let it get to that point.

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