Climate Change is Humanity’s Greatest Challenge…But it Should Not Be Biden’s Top Priority
If we don’t save democracy first, we can’t effectively tackle our biggest problems
The United States hit a historic low this week. A dangerous would-be despot pushed his followers to get violent. It was a pathetic coup attempt, but it was backed by sitting US Senators and representatives (all from the GOP). It was the culmination of 4 years of efforts to undermine democracy and, if we are honest with ourselves, support white supremacy.
This reality of what has happened to America has to change our priorities. The new US administration, and its miraculous new majority in Congress, is not entering into a normal situation at all. The top legislative goal needs to be, above all, protecting democracy and voting.
Before diving into government priorities, let’s just agree that the immediate need is to slow a pandemic killing more than 3,000 Americans every day, and tackle its significant economic consequences. Stopping Covid isn’t the “first” priority so much as the zeroeth — much like when your kid conks their head and have to you drop everything and run to the emergency room for stitches (something I had the joy of experiencing three times when my two boys were little).
Starting minute one, midday on the January 20th, we need a real plan, led by a true chief executive, to get the vaccine out fast, set new social standards on mask wearing, and develop a better economic strategy. The true focus of any stimulus money needs to be on the hardest hit people (the hungry and unemployed) and businesses that need to shut down when cases rise (bars, restaurants, theaters, travel, and so on). We have to destroy this ridiculous false trade-off between health and economy. There is no healthy economy if people are sick and dying in droves, and if people are not comfortable going to public places.
So with all that said, what else is critical for Biden and the Congress to focus on? Before the last four years, I would’ve said, without hesitation, climate change. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working on sustainability and climate issues. And I think there have been mistakes made on this topic — none more than the Obama…