Law enforcement officials from different locations are still looking for arsonists who they claim set off wildfires throughout Oklahoma recently, but they’re not talking much about the underlying reason for all the destruction: Global warming.
That goes for the local media as well. News outlets are reporting the searches for the alleged arsonists, showing video of destroyed homes and cheering on the slightly cooler temperatures, but we’re still in a terrible, extended drought that respected climatologists cite as a manifestation of global warming and a glimpse into our future.
The energy sector here is undoubtedly important for the local economy, but the cloud of denial hanging in the hot Oklahoma air right now seems eerily contrived, as if every officer, reporter and meteorologist in the state has taken an oath to defend the interests of the Chesapeake and Devon energy companies at the expense of truth.
See, in Oklahoma, it appears we’ll let homes burn to the ground before we’ll admit U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe was wrong and that global warming wasn’t a hoax after all but an insidious, long-term scourge that only becomes recognizable in increments like the past two summers.
The evidence is clear. Carbon emissions created by fossil fuels are raising the world’s temperature, and the rate at which temperatures keep climbing is escalating at alarming rates. (See the above video for a clear and concise explanation of global warming.) This will have dire effects on the planet. In some areas, it might mean more water from melting ice glaciers that floods shorelines, destroys property and displaces people. In Oklahoma and this area of the country, if prediction models hold true, it means hot weather, drought and fire.
The solution is clear: We need to reduce our carbon emissions from fossil fuels, including coal, and develop clean, renewable energy sources.
What might it take to get Oklahomans to at least begin a reasonable discussion about global warming? Some experts predict the one main issue that will get people to shed their complacency is a predicted food shortage in years to come. The current Midwest drought, according to government estimates, has devastated the nation’s corn crop this year, which will soon lead to higher food prices. This is a foreshadowing of what’s to come in the next 10 or 20 years as the impact snowballs, but a relatively small percentage increase in food prices right now will hardly become a catalyst for awareness.
It only makes tragic sense then that, at this point, it might take nothing short of life-or-death dilemmas in the form of serious food shortages to arouse people enough to fully challenge the corporate-dominated world order, which places profits above the planet’s environment. We have to believe people will fight against their very own starvation, but will it be too late once they do?