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I watch you as you walk across your campuses, backs hunched like Homo Erectus before the Erectus...
AFAIK, we are screwed.
I'm an optimist by nature, but the pending apocalyptic nightmare wrought by climate change will one day challenge our current 18-30 year-olds TO DO SOMETHING! Sadly, this mishmash of Millennials and Generation Wii, whose smart phones are undeniably smarter than they are, will be incapable of rising to the occasion.
It's a bleak assessment, but this particular generation is at the perfectly wrong place at the most critical time. Spoiled rotten by their Baby Boomer parents, who lavished gifts and worse, ladled gallons of self-esteem upon their precious ones ("We all get trophies!"), these kids have had to sacrifice nothing. And yet, sacrifice and discomfort are the only ways they'll be able to survive an approaching era of drought, rising oceans, super-storms and Justin Bieber, Jr.
You can already read the tea leaves here in California. (It's easy to read the tea leaves here because there's no water to cover them up.) A few months ago, Governor Jerry Brown, not unfamiliar with the sacrifices of his father's generation, asked Californians to voluntarily reduce their water usage by 20%.
Here in Los Angeles, my girlfriend and I heard the clarion call and immediately got to work. Ten-minute showers are now three-minute showers; running water while brushing teeth is verboten; dish washing (my god, what a waste!), is done with great attention to saving water. Two nights a week, we do without dishes and use paper plates. And the lawn? Yeah, nice to know ya.
Yes, we are doing our civic duty, California. We're stepping outside our comfort zone and are chipping in because we know that to succeed, we all have to be in this together. All for one, and one for all!
But wait. A report came out a few weeks ago claiming that this voluntary 20% reduction had turned into a 1% INCREASE of water usage! Someone, and I know it's you, you socially-unconscious high-tech Troglodyte, isn't pitching in.
But how could you? Your myopic view of the world, a view that's confined to the 4.5" - 6.5" screens on your iPhones and Galaxies, isn't your fault. As you robotically text your BFFs with shortcut phrases and cutesy emoticons, you are undermining any chance that a "call to action" could actually be heard. And really, who answers incoming calls these days anyway?
I watch you as you walk across your high school and college campuses, backs hunched like Homo Erectus before the Erectus as you stare at your smartphones with eyes glazed over and strained by tiny images reflecting even tinier thoughts, and my heart sinks. You have no capacity to see the Big Picture. "The Greatest Generation" pulled together to fend off the onslaught of The Depression and The Third Reich. There was nothing but Big Pictures then, and nothing but sacrifice. Lives were lost, belts were tightened, and people did without.
In 1977, during the Energy Crisis, even my fat generation, as grossly wasteful and self-indulgent as we are, turned our thermostats down to 68 degrees when Jimmy Carter asked us to. It wasn't much of a sacrifice, but we still had a notion of what 'sacrifice' meant, a vestigial tug from our parents' past.
Oh, you dead-eyed X-Box generation, you of imaginations not of your own making but handed to you on digital platters, how can we expect you to understand that changing the world is not as simple as blasting through high-def battlefields of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? How can we reach out to you or grab you by the shirt-collars and cry, "You have to save to the world!" when most of you can't find Earth on a map of our own solar system?
So, as the polar ice melts and Miami and Boston are underwater, and the world of 2060 finds you unable to shower more than once a month or own a swimming pool or even remember how nice rain once felt on your tongue, please enjoy your remaining time here. You had your chance to make a difference but had no capacity to do so.
Phil Lebovits, Political Satirist: 2016 is going to be the most interesting political year since 1876, maybe even better than Tilden v. Hayes. I can't wait to dump on Trump, kick Bush in the tush, shout boos at Cruz and f**k with Huck...abee. Here's to a wonderful year of witty prose, satirical musings and good pie. Cheers! P.S. Tilden was robbed! (more...)