In the 1996 movie, “Independence Day,” the people of the Earth unite to fight off a swarm of scuzzy-looking alien invaders. It is a fun film, even if parts of it are implausible.
And, by implausible, I don’t mean how the humans shoot down the aliens’ 15-mile-wide, city-destroying space ships with conventional jet fighters. What was truy implausible was the way Americans, let alone everyone else on the planet, managed to join together to fight a global threat. More realistically, if bad guys ever come at us from outer space, Tucker Carlson will insist it is a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats, the NRA will declare it is an FBI false flag ploy to get hold of everyone’s guns, animal rights activists will insist we have no right to harm another species and progressives will say the money spent on fighting aliens should, instead, go to fixing homelessness.
Well, we are, indeed, facing a global threat. It is called climate change. A NASA scientist just announced that the planet is getting hotter at an unprecedented rate — twice as fast as it was heating up in 2005. The American West is experiencing extreme drought and a record heat wave with water reservoirs disappearing, crops abandoned, electrical grids taxed to their limits and wildfires blazing. Meanwhile, polar ice and glaciers everywhere are shrinking at an alarming rate.
The human response? A whole lot of talk and minimal measures to reduce the use of fossil fuels that drive the climate phenomenon. In the U.S. Congress, our representatives struggle to reach agreement that the nation’s roads and bridges need to be fixed, that the right to vote should be defended or that a violent attack on the Capitol should be investigated. Climate Change? Nearly half of the senators and congressmen will not even say it is a real thing, let alone a looming crisis that needs to be addressed immediately.
I do not only fault the Republicans for this foolish myopia. It is human beings in general. Most of us simply cannot get our minds around an existential peril that is so enormous. Instead, we expend our angst and mental energy on transitory issues, like whether Donald Trump will be president again in a few months or a few years.
Bring on the aliens. They might do a better job taking care of our planet.