Apocalypse 2016

Edd Doerr

As these lines are being written in mid-May, our November election is shaping up as the most contentious and hazardous in modern history. Its outcome could be literally Earth-shattering. There is no need to review all of the many issues before us, as they are getting abundant coverage in the media (however sloppily), but three stand out as getting far too little attention: climate change and the escalating attacks on reproductive choice and public education.

“Climate change" is usually an inadequately explained catchall term that, as I wrote in the Washington Post on April 27, “is simply shorthand for a whole range of its concomitants, including environmental degradation, deforestation, desertification, atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane buildup, soil erosion and nutrient loss, toxic waste accumulation, sea-level rise, fishery and coral reef decline, biodiversity shrinkage, and increasing sociopolitical instability and violence." Still more rarely discussed is what is driving climate change: human population, tripled since the end of World War II to well over seven billion. (See my April/May 2016 FI column.)

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