But tell us further, Meletus, before Zeus, whether it is better to dwell among upright citizens or villainous ones?
Sir, answer. For surely I am asking nothing hard. Do not the villainous do something bad to whoever are nearest to them, while the good do something good?Plato, The Apology
A few years ago a local supermarket chain explained the reason for its support of community services:
“After all, we live here too” (or words to that effect).
Those words (or their equivalent) surged to the forefront of my mind as I gagged at the devastation to the environment that will shortly be effected by the willful actions of Trump and his fellow destroyers of the planet Earth. As Elizabeth Kolbert wrote on the New Yorker website:
A White House characterized by flaming incompetence has nevertheless managed to do one thing effectively: it has trashed years’ worth of work to protect the planet. As David Horsey, put it recently, in the Los Angeles Times, “Donald Trump’s foreign policy and legislative agenda may be a confused mess,” but “his administration’s attack on the environment is operating with the focus and zeal of the Spanish Inquisition.”(1)
Much of Hong Kong’s pollution . . . wafts across the border from China. About 60-70% of particulate matter comes from the mainland, according to a study commissioned by the city’s Environmental Protection Department. In winter, when the wind direction tends to blow more pollutants towards Hong Kong, as much as 77% of dust in the air comes from China.Hong Kong has signed a series of agreements with Guangdong province directly to the north – but they are unenforceable, stymying efforts by the local government and activists to have a meaningful impact. In the meantime, the health impact on Hong Kong’s population is severe.(3)
Yes, Hong Kong creates a great deal of its own air pollution, and needs to attack it at the source, just as local and state action in the US is needed to tackle localized pollution. But only action by larger political entities, national and international, can significantly help to reduce overall pollution.
If the desire to kill people is a prerequisite for the job of Attorney General of Arkansas(4), the prerequisite for the Attorney General post in either North Carolina or Oklahoma is selling-out to fossil fuel companies.
To understand that devolving complete environmental control to the states is meshugah, take a look at North Carolina.
“It’s like our state is deaf, and the only voice they can hear is Duke Energy,” claims Amy Brown, who lives with her husband and two sons in a small single-story home in Belmont, not far from Charlotte. (5)
Because of contamination from Duke Energy's power plants, the Brown family has been forced to live on bottled water, and they never take baths, only rushed showers; the in-ground pool, "which has elevated levels of arsenic, among other chemicals, is strictly off-limits.”
In Oklahoma, the state's Attorney General, Scott Pruitt, seemed to spend his whole tenure fighting to dissolve the Environmental Protection Agency—plagiarizing texts from petroleum industry flacks in doing so. He was, of course, named Trump's head of the EPA. “It’s the worst thing in the history of our environment!” exclaimed Garvin Isaacs, the president of the Oklahoma Bar Association.
“We are in danger. The whole country is in danger. Our kids are in danger.” . . .He claims the fossil-fuel industry “owns the whole darn state.” But his worries at the state level are now national. By choosing Pruitt, Isaacs said, Trump has outsourced his environmental policy to the Republican Party’s most powerful private donors—the oil-and-gas magnates who have funded Pruitt’s campaigns in Oklahoma.(5)
All of which leads me back to the beginning of this post: “After all, we live here too.”
As Socrates stated, it is better to live among good people than bad people—and I think that we can all agree that polluters and their enablers are bad people. Don't the Trumps, the Pruitts, the Gaetzes “live here too”? Don't they share the same air as everyone else? Are they oblivious to the damage they are doing not only to us but their own families?
For a long time I tried to wrap my head around this seeming absurdity—of people actually promoting harm to themselves and their families. But I have finally found the answer:
Aliens exist and they live in our midst disguised as humans - at least, that's what 20 percent of people polled in a global survey believe.(6)
I am converted! That is the answer. The polluters and their enablers don't “live here too.” They are aliens amongst us, who are only temporarily on Earth in order to destroy it, before retreating to their true home in some nasty far-off corner of the universe.
(4) Arkansas is determined to run convicted prisoners to their death on an assembly- line basis.