I’m not going to sugarcoat it: America is facing decline. Call me a communist, call me paranoid, cynical, pessimistic, whatever. I don’t care. The simple fact of the matter is that America has been approaching a turning point for some time now. Since the end of the second World War we’ve been struggling to stay on top as “the best and greatest nation on Earth”, we’ve been racing other nations to get to space, to build the most destructive weapons, to advance our science and technology beyond the rest… but it’s hard. And being ‘the best’ in a world filled with so many forward thinking countries isn’t easy. It takes constant adaptation, growth, development, study, and work. And over the years America has steadily fallen from #1.
We’re still really kick-ass, of course. We still have a HUUGE GDP ($16.77 as of this morning). We still have the most advanced and highly outfitted military in history. We still have the Grand Canyon. We still have Betty White. Things are stable… for now.
The thing is, we are facing the greatest threat to humanity any generation has ever dealt with – no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump – I’m talking about climate change and the sustainability of life on Earth. The stakes are high. And whether we like it, or not it is up to us to take action and try and be better stewards of the planet (lest we be destroyed by rising oceans, melting ice, chemically altered atmospheres, and extreme weather patterns).
“Oh Earthly stewardship, planetary health, sustainable life… Yadda, yadda, yadda, we’ve heard it all before. You liberals need to stop beating this dead global warming horse.”
Well, let’s put this into terms that even republicans can stand behind: The future economy of the world is going to be based on sustainable energy (if we survive, that is). The boon-days of coal and oil are coming to an end and if our nation doesn’t pivot soon and start embracing renewables like solar and wind and geothermal energy in a big way, we’re going to pay for it – we’re going to fall behind economically. China and Scandinavian nations will jettison ahead of us into a new energy economy, while America is stuck back in the filthy dark ages of fossil fuels. Our GDP will plummet. Vast new job sectors will go untapped. All for the greedy oil and coal moguls who’ve had our politicians in their pockets for the better part of a century.
Under the new Trump administration, renewable energy will likely remain secondary here in the states, and will possibly even get reduced. It’s a shame. Because, if politicians could put aside their assets and investments in fossil fuel industries for just a moment we might have a chance to change the world. If America really took on renewable energy wholeheartedly and pioneered the way for other countries who are indisputably going to have to follow suit, it would put us in a position to stay ahead, to stay afloat, and to stay modern. Not only that, but America would be remembered in history books as the nation that led the charge to save the planet. Sounds cool, right?
Too bad that’s not going to happen. We made a choice in 2016 – a choice to elect a man who doesn’t even believe that our climate is changing. He has opened the doors for fossil fuel industries to sink their claws into the American economy deeper and ever deeper. We made a decision at a very critical time in American, and world history – we made the decision to pick a leader who would turn this nation’s back on the environment, and the future of this planet.
That is why I say, America is facing decline. This was a juncture, a fork in the road where we could have taken the sustainable path, and did not. Other powerful nations will (and already are) gladly seize upon the opportunity to lead the world in renewable energy and Earthly stewardship. They will happily snatch the chance to leap ahead, while America sticks to its guns and wallows in the fumes of its own fossil fuel addiction, degenerating into a relic of the past, something irrelevant and passé – a nation that once led the world. What goes up must come down…
– Juan Wilder
Editor in Chief, Greenville Gazette