Great Barrier Reef, we hardly knew ye

Before we begin, I must rise and give a standing ovation to all my Dutch friends.

You did it. You rejected populism! The Dutch did something that the British and Americans could not do.

In case you haven’t been following the Weinblog™, this burst of joy is in reference to Geert Widlers, the extremely radical, far-right “Dutch Trump” whose party fell significantly short of winning the most seats in the Netherlands parliamentary elections on Wednesday.

The country’s Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, whose party did win the most votes, said in his victory speech that the craziness in the U.S. under Donald Trump made people rethink choosing a populist leader.

It’s great we get to be the guinea pig so other countries don’t screw up like we did.

But anyway, let’s shift gears to something a little more demoralizing that’s happening on the other side of the globe: the deterioration of the Great Barrier Reef.

It’s a pretty sad thought that one day, if I ever have grand-kids, I’ll have to explain to them that it was during my generation when we learned that the Great Barrier Reef was dying … and we did nothing to stop it.

That’s the reality. A recent paper published by scientists informs us that one of our planet’s foremost natural phenomena is in mortal danger – 30 years quicker than we expected. While the reef requires warm underwater temperatures to survive, global warming has caused temperatures to rise too much, proving deadly.

Great Barrier Reef

But the researchers explain that not all is hope is lost, and that there is time to restore the necessary conditions to salvage the precious underwater ecosystem.

But we have to act now.

Spoiler alert: we won’t.

Barack Obama was the symbolic leader of the monumental Paris Agreement, at which nearly 200 countries agreed to take tangible action to combat climate change. Now Obama’s gone, and Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the agreement.

As much as we will want to blame Trump, though, Australia is as guilty as anyone else, as their conservative government continues to support fossil fuel development, including the construction of a proposed coal mine – a pretty big shocker considering the barrier reef is responsible for bringing the country some 70,000 jobs and billions of dollars in tourism revenue.

One would think that would motivate them to act. Guess not.

The Barrier Reef is as astonishing as anything our natural world has to offer. So astonishing that it’s often considered one of the modern wonders of the world.

Think of the massive development of a city over time into a complex, vivacious metropolis. Now imagine that underwater, constructed entirely by living organisms. It’s almost impossible to fathom.

And we are letting it die.

But hey, at least we’ll always have coal, right?

Although, if the first two months of Trump’s presidency are any indication, perhaps the courts will find a way to step in and override his complete disregard for climate change, just like they did for a second time with his proposed travel ban.

Hawaii Travel Ban

As we all have the distinct displeasure of remembering, Trump was a man unleashed during his campaign. Initially, he had only tepid support, and he was just running his mouth saying whatever he felt like to appeal to his base. Many of those things were downright bigoted.

And now he is suffering the consequences.

Yes, the revised travel ban down cut out the most controversial parts of the first one. But the damage has already been done. No matter how stately the administration attempts to word this thing, we know what they want to do. And in America, we don’t discriminate based on religion.

It’s refreshing to finally see somebody hold Trump accountable for his recklessness.

And credit must be given where it is due: you did it, Hawaii! Yeah! High five!

From now on, you will be remembered for being a popular honeymoon destination, the movie Lilo and Stitch, and … putting a stop to Trump’s second travel ban.

Put that shit right on the license plate.

Climate change is the most boring doomsday villain ever

Since the dawn of civilization, we have been forewarned about about the downfall of humanity.

That idea has been heavily explored — and at times, even glorified — in literature, film and television in a number of ways.

Some are realistic, such as nuclear warfare and plague, some not so much — the zombie outbreak, the Rapture. Yet, all are entertaining and make for good science-fiction.

But what’s ironic is that arguably the most inevitable cause of our planet’s collapse is the one that nobody really takes too seriously: climate change.

Indeed, there are segments of our population that choose to downright ignore the fact that human beings are bringing about harmful changes in weather patterns.

Climate changeThe reason? Because the threat is not imminent.

It’s true that there is tangible evidence of global warming: melting ice caps, rising sea levels, warmer average temperatures. However, nobody who is reading this right now — even somebody born this morning — will live long enough to see the day climate change destroys Earth.

And if you were born this morning and somehow have the ability to read and comprehend what I am saying, then you probably will be the one who singlehandedly fixes this problem. Congratulations on your future success, baby genius.

But for today, the formidable task of saving our planet before it’s too late is in the hands of our world leaders, who, conveniently, are meeting in Paris right now to discuss that very thing.

In a way, it does seem a bit paradoxical that, in the midst of the recent Paris attacks, the ever-worsening Syrian refugee crisis, and whatever most recent mass shooting happened in America, hundreds of world leaders are directing all of their energy not to discuss ISIS or gun control, but to talk about the weather.

And yet, on the opposite side of the coin, what’s more important than saving the planet that we live on? And why doesn’t the average person care more about this?

I think some fault lies with the comically bad 2008 M. Night ShyamalanThe Happening film, The Happening, which presented us with a ludicrous interpretation of how nature could bring about the end of the world.

Except, according to that film, it’s the plants that were pissed off and decided to fight back. Somehow. With like, chemicals and stuff.

I still don’t understand how plants were ever the antagonists of any film, let alone a horror film. And I seriously believe its absurdity diminished our worry of climate change.

You heard it here first. If climate change brings about the destruction of our planet, as many think it will, then the blame should fall squarely on the shoulders of M. Night Shyamalan.

And for good measure, let’s say it’s Mark Wahlberg’s fault, too.

On second thought, let’s only blame Mark Wahlberg.