Extreme Temperature Diary-November 20, 2018/ Topic: Not Willing To Sacrifice Not Willing To Change…A French Story

Tuesday November 20th… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing post will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials)😊. 

Not Willing To Sacrifice Not Willing To Change…A French Story

News on climate change and articles being written about the subject are coming out at a fast and furious pace these days. Even for someone like myself grounded in the subject it’s hard to keep up. The inspiration for this little post today comes from what I consider to be the best climate essay to come out this month so far…perhaps the best of 2018, which practically no one has missed by esteemed climate activist Bill McKibben who heads 350.org:

I really can’t “out write” Bill, so I encourage all to read his fine linked essay. I can only add my two cents. Beyond Bill’s sweeping, very dystopian piece, what really gets under my skin making the old proverbial blood boil (pardon the pun) is when I hear that groups of people aren’t willing to sacrifice or change their lifestyles for the sake of humanity and the future when it comes to climate change…not even just a smidge.  It’s no wonder that a simple measure like a carbon tax can’t be levied anywhere on the planet when I hear news of protests against such measures coming from the streets. I’ve been picking on my own country, the United States, a lot lately when it comes to greed. It’s no surprise that people from other countries across the planet are also bucking the headwinds of necessary change, but France the home of the Paris Accords? Now this news really stings. Quoting the Washington Post:

November 17

The French president is under fire again, this time over rising fuel prices.

On Saturday, more than 282,700 people, many clad in yellow vests, took to — and, in many places, also literally took — the streets, according to the French Interior Ministry. The ministry said a network of drivers blocked roads at some 2,000 locations across the country, generating backups for miles and causing one death.

A 63-year-old protester was killed in the eastern Savoie region when a driver panicked by demonstrators accidentally accelerated a vehicle into the crowd, French media reported. In other incidents nationwide, 106 people were reported injured, five seriously.

The protesters’ chief complaint: the rising cost of diesel fuel. The recent price hike is a direct result of President Emmanuel Macron’s commitment to curbing climate change, which included higher carbon taxes for 2018, the first full year of his term. But beyond the diesel issue, many turned out Saturday to voice any number of other frustrations with the “president for the rich,” who is seen as increasingly removed from ordinary people’s concerns.

Lessons learned here:

A) Any well thought out policies put in place need to affect the poorest among us the least.

B) The “not in my backyard or not from my wallet” rule of thumb applies.

It’s human nature to applaud sacrifice coming from others, but when individually or collectively asked to shell out more money for fuel, even to protect the long term health of the planet, no dice. I think this was one of the themes running through Bill McKibben’s essay… humans are very poor at self sacrifice, which comes from our greedy natures.

Sigh. If we are ever going to win this now loosing planetary war to protect civilization from itself the lack of willingness to sacrifice must be taken into account. What Bill did not mention, which will be my two cents, is the fact that humans are very much tied to the family unit. We will make sacrifices for immediate family members or even “tribes,” which as of the 21st century would be our neighbors, but outside of small familiar units, not so much. We will sacrifice great personal wealth and time to take care of our spouse or significant other and our offspring, but not pay another dime per gallon at the gas pump to insure that our children’s children have better lives. Thousands of dollars will go to an offspring’s college education, but a few more dollars forked over for a carbon tax per month? No way! 

The process of paying taxes or sacrificing in other ways to the benefit of one’s fellow man outside of the family unit doesn’t register too well in our collective craniums. “Collectivism” or working in mass to complete a goal outside of war has been expunged from the planet, relegated to the trash heap of history in the past fifty or so years. In a parallel universe in which communism won over capitalism, or if God forbid there was one sole totalitarian government, I wonder if the planet would be better prepared or able to deal with climate change?…an interesting question but a moot point. Macron is not a dictator so we will see what happens with that diesel tax in France. The working poor that struggle to put food on the family table perhaps can be excused, but big oil companies? I think not.

So, now we need to “collectively” come up with a worldwide solution for a global problem that doesn’t really give a hoot about family units or our politics. Do I sense that the we can change our family oriented natures in time to prevent an apocalypse? The old Climate Guy is running out of hope like it appears that Mr. Bill is doing from his latest piece. Like I’ve stated before, we’ll see where we are in January 2020. Brother can you spare a dime?

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Here is some more weather and climate news from Tuesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity.)

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The Climate Guy

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