Getting To Green Saving Nature: A Bipartisan Solution

By Frederic C. Rich 2016; W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.: New York 361 pp.; $26.95 (HB) ISBN 978-0-393-29247-3

The nation behaves well if it treats natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value. ~ President Theodore Roosevelt As an author and as a concerned citizen, Frederic Rich laments that twenty-six years after the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) first alerted us to the reality of and threats posed by climate change, “only four out of ten of us are convinced it is a problem that we have caused and can and should correct.” His engaging and thoroughly researched book provides a path for working together to reverse and diminish the harms. This book also reflects Rich’s concerns about recent partisan divisions and hostilities within our Federal government. He focuses on past examples of bipartisan cooperation in Congress, such as the first Earth Day celebrations in 1970 held throughout the country, with strong congressional support and participation. The passage of the Clean Air Act of 1990 by Congress imposed a 50 percent reduction in acid rain and in the sulfur and nitrogen dioxide emissions acid rain generates. The final version of the bill passed with the support of 86 senators (including Republican Mitch McConnell from Kentucky) and 401 in the House of Representatives, with 21 voting against the bill. “The oil and chemical companies strongly opposed the legislation,” and Democratic Senators Manchin from West Virginia and Synema from Arizona voted against it. A Cap and Trade Success Story When the initial Clean Air Act was “recrafted as a cap and trade system,” the targeted emissions were reduced. “With the benefit of a quarter century perspective, we know that the law drastically reduced the deposition of atmospheric acids in our forests and waterways with a significantly lower cost to industry than anticipated, and with the benefits of resource recovery and lower health care costs” resulting from fewer people becoming sick. Using “a market mechanism dear to the hearts of conservatives,” this legislation also reversed large-scale environmental degradation without the feared huge costs to the business sector. Instead, the nation reaped economic benefits. Yet despite these good outcomes, every attempt by the Green movement since 1990 to do more has failed. “Green issues gripping Washington (D.C.) today include climate change and sea level rise, ocean acidification, water supply and water quality, and species extinction.” Despite the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, in the United States “atmospheric CO 2 continues its relentless climb; the Green Agenda is

Both sorrow and joy are constantly rapping at the door to encourage and arouse man to awaken spiritually. He is then very often freed for a few seconds from the trivialities of everyday life, and in happiness or grief vaguely senses his affinity with the spirit pulsating through all that lives. – Abd-ru-shin

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