President Obama continues to surprise me. After his recent campaign, which was mostly silent on the topic of climate change, the President announced on Monday with bold and action-oriented words his intention to finally mitigate the consequences of living on a warming planet.
“We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,” said Mr. Obama during his second Inaugural Address. “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but no one can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
I’m saddened that the “overwhelming judgment of science” is still in question, but what really troubles me is the general opposition (from individuals, from industries, etc.) that efforts to build a better car, a better microwave, a better recycling center… face. In my mind, these are non-negotiable issues.
President Obama has announced that part of his plan for addressing climate change includes launching a public campaign to educate and mobilize citizens in support of his soon (hopefully) to be revealed initiatives. Not that anyone on the President’s team has asked, but I’ve been trying to come up with campaign ideas. So far, I’ve come up with one: It Just Makes Sense. Here’s why:
It just makes sense that since no one has discovered nor will discover an eternal fountain of oil, we will need to soon rely on alternative fuels for transportation.
It just makes sense that household appliances and the companies that produce them should be energy-efficient.
It just makes sense that children shouldn’t have to struggle with asthma or play in the park with a facemask because of air pollution.
It just makes sense that companies shouldn’t be allowed to pump and dump chemicals in our air and waterways.
It just makes sense that the packaging that covers most consumer goods should be compostable or recyclable.
It all just makes sense.
To a certain degree, it doesn’t matter what the science says about any of these issues. You don’t need to read a study written by a guy with a PhD to know that waste management plans need to rely on more than the accessibility of large holes in the ground that can be filled with trash. Yet, we have a childlike understanding, or at least recognition, in what we produce and use and where the byproducts go. It’s like our food: milk comes from the grocery store and trash goes to the garbage man.
It’s time that we honor engineers and designers who challenge the status quo. It’s time for policy to reflect what everybody should know just makes sense.
Gena Akers can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.