May 28, 2017 by John Crapper
John F. Kennedy was a dreamer and a visionary. As we reflect on his legacy at the juncture of what would have been his 100th birthday I’d like to dream and suggest a vision I believe he would have suggested and encouraged us to adopt if he were sitting in the oval office today.
Recall one of John F. Kennedy’s most famous statements during his presidential inauguration.
I think with the challenges this country faces it is time to honor JFK and seriously consider what we can do to fulfill his request.
I spend a lot of time researching the problems and challenges associated with climate change. If there were ever one single problem we must address collectively in a big way it is this one irrespective of the opinion our current sitting president holds on this issue.
Somehow our entire country needs to come together and embark on a massive effort to reduce our fossil fuel consumption to bring down the level of CO2 we are putting into our atmosphere. And it needs to start happening very quickly.
Up until 2007 the United States was the largest emitter of CO2 in our world. Since then China has held the top position. As such we have an obligation to the rest of the world to lead the way in our carbon reduction efforts.
In 2014, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,870 million metric tons (15.1 trillion pounds) of carbon dioxide equivalents. This total represents a 7 percent increase since 1990 but a 7 percent decrease since 2005
It has now been determined by the NSA a critical task for us to embark on serious CO2 reductions in the interest of our own national security.
Even though we are already seeing and feeling the effects of climate change just by the nature of the problem, it will negatively impact the younger amongst us to a greater extent than those older. The young consequently have a greater stake in having the issue prioritized.
Research I’ve done indicates that around the year 2030 major impacts will start being seen and felt around the world. Around 2050 our world order starts to unravel if we continue doing what we’re currently doing. And from what I’m seeing this timeframe is speeding up at present. Just to put that in a visually more vivid way for you to plug yourself into I offer the following.
A person with a birthdate of
2017 will be 13 years old in 2030 and 43 in 2050
2007 will be 23 years old in 2030 and 53 in 2050
1997 will be 33 years old in 2030 and 63 in 2050
1987 will be 43 years old in 2030 and 73 in 2050
1977 will be 53 years old in 2030 and 83 in 2050
1967 will be 63 years old in 2030 and 93 in 2050
1957 will be 73 years old in 2030 and 103 in 2050
1947 will be 83 years old in 2030
1937 will be 93 years old in 2030
1927 will be 103 years old in 2030
Just as JFK set a goal of putting a man on the moon in 10 years which we achieved, we can and should set an ambitious goal of major CO2 reduction in the next decade to tackle the problem of climate change.
The Climate Mobilization’s “Victory Plan“ aims to detail how a fully mobilized United States government could drive our economy to net zero greenhouse gas emissions within a decade, restore a safe climate, end the sixth mass extinction, reverse ecological overshoot — and revitalize America, with 100% employment for all who want work.
That plan outlines a myriad of steps that can and should be taken to help change our CO2 emission trajectory. I invite you to read it. It’s well worth the time!
But in this article I’d like to focus on one specific idea on this 100th birthday remembrance of JFK not mentioned in the Victory Plan.
I think it’s time this country considers a compulsory national public service program designed specifically to tackle climate change. Asking our youth to devote two years of their life to help secure the livability of their future environment seems reasonable to me. Asking them to do something for their country while concurrently their government does its part for them by embarking on such things mentioned in the Victory Plan referenced above seems reasonable to me.
I know what you’re thinking. This has a fat chance of happening any time soon under our current political situation. But I ask you. Have we lost our ability to think big? Have we lost our willingness to pursue long-term goals? Have we, as a country, as a people, as parents, thrown in the towel of our children’s future and resigned ourselves that their life will be much worse than the one we have had the good fortune to live? Have we as a people given up on accepting and taking on the challenges of our day?
I must continue to believe that that is not the case. Otherwise the Trump-like thinkers amongst us will have won.
So I’m going to keep dreaming because dreams can come true as well as nightmares. Let me remind all that most of us never dreamed Trump had a chance of winning but the other side’s dream came true.
It’s time for one of ours to come true next!