Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Rochester’s Climate Change political forums likely to be the new normal

Missed the “Candidates Talk Climate: Mayoral Primary Forum” that focused exclusively on Climate Change for Rochester NY? Go here Democratic Primary for Rochester Mayor Forum 2017 to see that August 30th forum. This event was sponsored by Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) and League of Women Voters. It was a historic moment where candidates for the mayor of Rochester answered only questions on how they would address Climate Change in our city.

A climate-only political forum is a rarity. The RPCC hosted a similar forum a couple of years ago, when one of the races included the Monroe County Executive race. But this kind of forum may turn out to be the new normal for political debates as our way of life becomes inundated by the consequences of Climate Change. Our society’s approach to Climate Change resembles the drug addict who, as their addiction mounts, finds that all their problems have become one great big unavoidable problem.

Someday the problems resulting from a warming world will be what our politicians and candidates will be talking about, regardless of the amount of dark money trying to steer public attention away from this issue, and regardless of how various ideologies want to frame this issue.  Like Hurricane Harvey, it will be in our face, in our water, and ever more relentlessly trying to wash us away.

What I got from this forum is a sense of accountability. It’s very refreshing to hear candidates having to shape their answers around the prevailing science of the day, instead of the insanely moronic political maneuverings shaped by the Trump administration in order to continue their business as usual.

Our local leaders must protect their citizens and our infrastructures from the local consequences of Climate Change. It’s their job. We must make sure that our leaders are preparing for the extreme weather that comes with quickly warming a planet—such as Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Sandy, and now Hurricane Harvey. (There are many more such events around the world, creating far more damage and loss of life, but unless you look for them in non-US media, you are unlikely to hear about them.)

At the forum, it was great to hear so many questions (many of them stimulated by the City’s Climate Action Plan) about a matter that hasn’t receive the respect it deserves. We still aren’t at the point where we choose our leaders based on their positions on addressing Climate Change. Ironically, our reluctance to do so makes it all the more likely that we’ll be prioritizing this issue sooner rather than later. Science has a way of being right however infuriating that is.

Great praise is in order for both the RPCC and the League of Women Voters for hosting this forum.

Out of the many possibilities that our future affords us, there are none where our planet doesn’t warm and greatly influence our lives. The sooner we get our politics in line with reality, the better prepared we’ll be.


Time passes. 

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