So What Is Plan B?

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to speak about the climate crisis to a group of bright high school seniors.  I love speaking to these Virginia Regional Governor’s School students;  they are intelligent and interested.
     And instead of feeling crushed by the weight of my message, these students respond with hope and with the confidence that they have what it takes to deal successfully with the problem.
     But two months after my last gig with these high school seniors, I find still echoing in my mind a question that one young man asked that day.  We had spent at least an hour in engrossing discussion about what must be done if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe, the roles for nations, localities, institutions, and citizens.
     After all of this, the young man, groping for words, asked haltingly, “Well, what if we don’t do all the things we need to do?  What if we can’t manage to do it?  What do we do then?  What is the. . . . plan?”
     I could have wept on the spot.
     I saw a 17-year old who had not yet grasped that the grown-ups he’d always trusted to be in charge could completely let him down.  He just assumed that the generations running things were making at least the minimum necessary arrangements to ensure that the future would be okay for him and his generation.  Surely there must be some ‘Plan B.’
     The people in charge could not just sit back and expose us to catastrophe.  Could they?
     I was so struck by the young man’s question, I really don’t remember how I answered.  I wanted to be truthful, but I didn’t want to puncture his sense of security, his faith in those in charge.  As a mom, perhaps, I didn’t want him to be afraid.
     As I have continued to think about this student’s question, I see that he was really speaking for all of us.  Even among those who ‘get’ the seriousness of our climate crisis, most don’t really get how very bad life could get for the generations to come.  For one thing, we have never experienced anything like what might well lie ahead if we fail to act decisively.
     In addition to a natural reluctance to envision how bad life could become, there is the deliberate misinformation campaign on the part of the fossil fuel industry, whose wealth has induced one of our two major  political parties to make it party dogma that the science on climate is to be ignored.  The fossil fuel industry, through its political lackeys, lulls us into inaction with its deceptive message that climate science is a hoax, that we should stay addicted to fossil fuels.
     I wonder what the people who are running this misinformation campaign would say to their own children if they came to them and asked, “What’s the plan?”–April Moore

One Response to “So What Is Plan B?”

  1. April Says:

    I thank Larry Scott for sending this video:

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