Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Cancer and Climate Change?

Cancer is a word now common to our vocabulary just like global warming. But what is their connection? Cancer is devastating disease that has increasingly impacted too many individuals and families. Global warming is a global phenomenon that will affect us all without treatment. Conceptually, they are the same, something foreign that has potentially devastating effects to the necessary functions of our life support systems.

It is often argued that global warming is a farce because we do not feel the effects. This is for two reasons: The first reason we don't always feel its effects is because it is not an attack on our systems, instead it is us attacking. Second, we are talking about long-term effects that will effectively disable or seriously disrupt some of the planet's most important atmospheric, biological, and hydrological functions; gradual changes not apparent in our everyday lives. This is not unlike cancer it eventually starts out as a minor disruption in our body that eventually if left untreated devastates our biological functions.

How we solve our climate change problem will be very similar to battle to overcome cancer. Survivors of the disease may be some of our best allies in this war because they are familiar with the sacrifices it takes. Cancer survivors understand that the immediacy with which they pursued treatment greatly affected their ability to over come the disease. It was the help and support that they received from everyone around them. I was the help of experts and science.

Unfortunately, this is not always enough. But that is not our diagnosis. The science and experts are telling us that we can beat this if we take action. The problem is that we must shift from being the comfortable aggressor to the recovering patients. So where can we look for strength?

Survivors. We have a new moral and ethical obligation on our hands one that requires a complete restructuring of the way we live. So let's let those who have overcome such a terrible disease be beacon as we attempt to navigate to a new future. As survivors know; the ability to overcome first requires the ability to change.

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