Cold Shoulder for the Climate March

October 6, 2014

On Sunday, September 21, 2014, my family and I joined 311,000 others in New York City for the largest demonstration on the climate crisis in history. It was one of the most profound experiences of my life, and my children understood that they were witnessing something very important. I noted with some satisfaction that the New York Times and The Nation ran significant articles during the following week about the crisis, but the march did not draw widespread media coverage in the nation as a whole.

That did not surprise the organizers of the march, but it certainly didn’t give progressives and environmentalists much to crow about. On Monday, September 22, John Stewart began “The Daily Show” with a trenchant report contrasting the heady enthusiasm of the marchers with the deafening silence of officials in Washington during the previous week. It seems that the Senate Committee on the Environment grilled the leading climate scientist in the Obama administration for several hours without asking a single pertinent question about climate change or the waning of the fossil fuel supply. The hapless “point man” couldn’t get a single Senator to recognize the urgency of his recommendations or the gravity of the crisis we are facing if greenhouse gas emissions do not drastically decrease during the next 20 years.

The Daily Show made the Senators’ indifference into a biting critique of the government and its “fiddling while Rome burns” attitude. As it often does, the program offered more useful analysis than any legitimate newscast, but the take away was pretty disheartening–very little will come of this massive civil action until the forces that control Washington (Big Oil and Coal) are brought to their knees by a real energy crisis.

Chill winds are blowing in the nation’s capital, while the rest of us burn and sweat in the hothouse that we call home–planet Earth without its SPF50 sunscreen.

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