The Boulder Daily Gamera, though, makes me wonder. Their "editorial advisory board," which each week answers a reader's question, answered this one last Saturday:
An 11-year-old boy whose neighborhood burned in the Fourmile Fire has joined with a friend afraid of losing favorite hiking trails and an 18-year-old student with a growing asthmatic condition in a lawsuit filed in Boulder County District Court against the state for failing to protect the environment. The lawsuit is part of a youth effort in all 50 states. A nationwide team of legal experts has been assembled through the nonprofit organization Our Children's Trust to represent the young people in their lawsuits. What do you think?Well, it's Boulder. What do you think they think? Board member Judy Amabile, while calling the lawsuit "frivolous," adds this:
I applaud these young people`s activism. They should be encouraged. Their passion for the environment can bring about real change. The Clean Air Act, the Endangered Species Act, the formation of the EPA, all came about because passionate citizens pressured the government to act.Board member Marc Raizman:
We need more environmental legislation. We need to make sure we continue to fund agencies like the EPA. We need to elect representatives to Congress who believe that environmental stewardship should be a top priority for our government. . . .
We unthinkingly do things on a daily basis that adversely affect the environment. Driving cars when we could be riding a bus or a bicycle. Using plastics that will last 1,000 years. Generating too much garbage that threatens to overwhelm our dumps. Using too many forest products, such as paper. Do we really need Kleenex when handkerchiefs are renewable?Steve Fisher:
A related problem is that we are caught in a cultural treadmill that the corporate world insists on feeding us primarily through advertising. For example, If we began avoiding products that carried too much packaging, the corporations would adopt [sic] and reduce their use.
Keep in mind: There is no infinite growth in a finite world.
This lawsuit raises three points for me. First, what is the role of an individual state or local government in the solution of a global problem? In my nearly 40 years working in and for governments, I`ve developed great respect for the grave limitations of governmental entities to solve broad social problems or engage in grand social experiments. We have done it before, but I think the global environmental problem dwarfs all previous problems.Anne B. Butterfield:
Yet what is the alternative? Can we wait for voluntary action? Do we need something like a global green benevolent despot? I, for one, come up without an answer other than to continue muddling through. Ultimately is the solution a zero population growth, low consumption global society? . . .
The youth could not have more daunting science to buttress their case. Geoscientists are now holding that we have entered into a new geological period called the Anthropocene marked by sustained human impact on the earth`s biological conditions through resource depletion and climate disruption. And the National Research Council this week issued a requested report warning Congress about the grave advance of human-caused climate disruption that will thrust "profound" threat on future generations. Like the youth, the NRC calls for action on a national level.There were one or two others, but you get the idea. The unexamined assumptions, the ridiculous assertions, the sententious pronouncements, the judicious panic. And these are not dumb people (or rather, not uneducated people). Sometimes you just want to shake them till their teeth rattle and their eyes roll back in their heads. Don't, though. It's against the law.
The kids` somewhat quixotic efforts perhaps could be aimed at Exxon Mobil for apparently funding a team of denier-skeptics who have co-authored a blizzard of supposedly independent papers opposing conclusions of climate science, with the result of misleading federal officials who in turn block climate action. Perhaps in time they will.