Many have observed the depletion of credibility in daily discourse – causing an alarming decline in a consensus on truth.
Yet, without a fundamental sense of shared reality, how can we collectively – as a community, state, or nation – anticipate and respond to imminent threats and opportunities?
Perplexity about this predicament was revived when I recently learned of terminology – accepted by a federal court – for describing a rocket explosion as a “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” This devious euphemism for an event threatening death and destruction epitomizes the abuse of language that accelerates the alarming neglect of truth.
The impoverishment of facts that afflicts our political institutions has brought us to the brink of environmental destruction. Consider that science has verified the human causes of climate change for more than two decades, yet many elected officials still thwart actions to confront the array of threats caused by rising temperatures.
The most recent reports from authoritative sources reveal penalties for this reckless denial of climate disruption that are even more dangerous than expected.
• Melting of polar ice is occurring much faster than predicted, threatening coastal inundation.
• Species are going extinct rapidly, ravaging nature more than any period in millions of years.
• Oceans, absorbing over half of greenhouse-gas emissions, are yielding much-reduced food-supplies as they grow warmer and more acidic.
Though surveys reported by Yale’s Climate Connections indicate a large majority of Americans prioritize climate issues, half of their Congressional representatives obstinately disagree.
Partisan denial of facts seriously imperils our democracy as well as our survival.
David Kyler, Center for a Sustainable Coast
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