Nero fiddled while Rome burned, or so goes the legend.
Our elected officials remind me of Nero. They may not fiddle, but they are oblivious to global catastrophes. And they literally want to put "oil on the fire." They support renewed oil and gas leasing in Utah, and coal is also being revived. Don’t our elected officials understand that burning fossil fuels will increase our climate dangers?
Fossil fuels are the result of slow sequestration of carbon over millions of years. In the 1800s, we began excavating and burning them to power the Industrial Revolution. A great achievement, but one with costs: Carbon dioxide produced by burning fossil fuels cannot all be absorbed by the earth's ecosystems, so it accumulates in the atmosphere, trapping heat. The more heat, the more violent the weather.
It’s time for solutions. A carbon tax, returned to citizens as a dividend, would encourage innovations to reduce fossil fuel use, yet the U.S. House just passed a resolution calling a carbon tax bad for the economy. How about tornadoes, fires and floods — are they not bad for the economy?
Religious, community, business leaders; voters: Speak up! The choice is yours: Nero, or hero?