Want Environmental Progress? Follow the Kids

One breakthrough for environmental progress was made recently by young climate activists in deep-red, rural Montana.

“OK, boomer.” That’s a snarky phrase currently some use to mock 60- and-70-year-olds they consider to be cluelessly out of touch.

Recently, however, teenagers and 20-somethings have turned that snide sentiment into a positive challenge directed at doomsayers of all ages who claim nothing can be done to stop runaway global warming: “OK, doomer,” these young climate activists respond. It’s their shorthand way of saying to do-nothing fatalists: Give up if you want, but please step aside while we organize and mobilize for climate sanity and environmental progress.

Our globe’s fast-warming, catastrophe-creating climate is more than just another issue: It has become a generational cause for young people. Indeed, 62% of young voters support totally phasing out fossil fuels, and they’re channeling their anger about official inaction toward both political parties. Such feisty grassroots groups as Gen-Z for Change, Zero Hour, Black Girl Environmentalist and Our Children’s Trust are on the front lines — in the face of power, and on the move.

As in all progressive struggles — from civil rights to labor to environmental justice — progress comes from sticking with principle, building incrementally on local victories and persevering against moneyed reactionaries.

Already, one breakthrough by these young climate activists was made this year in deep-red, rural Montana. In a case filed by Our Children’s Trust, 16 children, ages 2-18, charged that a state law took away their right to challenge energy projects that increase global warming. Noting that Montana’s constitution establishes a right to “a clean and healthful environment,” state Judge Kathy Seeley ruled for the children… and for a clean, healthy climate future.

Progress is not made by spectators and cynics, but by activists. And those who say that activism can’t produce change should not interrupt those who’re doing it.

The Rattiest Right-Wing Congress Critter

Vangunu, one of the Solomon Islands, is home to a giant species of rodent called the vika. Astonishingly, this rare and very large rat has jaws so powerful it can bite through a coconut shell!

That made me think of Rep. Jim Jordan, the GOP’s rattiest far-right-wing Congress critter. There is no documented proof that this extremist partisan was raised on Vangunu, but he sure keeps gnawing on Joe and Hunter Biden, desperately trying to crack open a scandal that simply doesn’t exit. Vikas are powerful, but they’ve not been accused of being smart.

Jordan, the former coach of a boy’s wrestling team, now has his team of House Republicans in a choke hold, draining national media attention to his goofy obsession with impeaching Joe. Impeach him for what? Well, says Jordan, we’re looking for a reason.

He has it bass-ackwards — real impeachment proceedings start with specific charges of an official’s “high crimes and misdemeanors.” But Coach Jordan is perverting that constitutional requirement by first accusing Biden of high crimes, then holding hearings in hopes of finding one. But poor Jim — it turns out to be easier for him to bite through a coconut than to fabricate a Biden crime.

But Jordan keeps gnawing, wasting Congress’ time, staff and credibility (plus millions of taxpayer dollars) scuttling down trails that go nowhere. Meanwhile, as he and the GOP House prioritize their clownish political agenda, they can’t perform the basics of government, which is simply to keep essential public services funded and functioning.

Unable to govern, Republican leaders abruptly stopped working in the House in early December, saying they’ll get serious next year. But, uh-oh, the vika congressman has just announced he’ll hold more impeachment hearings next year so he can keep gnawing at the Biden coconut.

Jim Hightower