Republican dodo birds have a death wish for us all

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In the 1850s, British naturalist Charles Darwin proposed the theory of evolution by natural selection . In his book, On the Origin of Species, Darwin presented years of data, notations he’d made while observing plants and animals in their natural habitats.
Over decades of painstaking observation, Darwin discovered that organisms with traits that favor survival tend to leave more offspring, causing survivalist traits to increase in frequency over time among successful species. In a word, Darwin concluded, successful survival of all living organisms requires them to adapt.
Species that fail to adapt? They go extinct, some more rapidly than others.
We are approaching unsurvivable temperatures
Last year was the hottest of the past 170 years, which is when meteorologists first began tracking global temperatures. According to NASA , the 10 warmest years since Darwin’s 1850s have all occurred during the last decade, with the same predicted for 2024.
Dead monkeys are falling out of trees in Mexico. Other primates are dying, along with toucans, parrots, insects , bats and one million other species . Animals are dying from heat and dehydration at such alarming rates that even Fox News has reported on it — though they have not yet found a way to blame President Joe Biden or the border.
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Last week, avoiding the words “climate change,” Fox News quoted the director of an eco-conservation park in Mexico saying they’d “never seen a situation like what’s happening right now.” The conservation park resuscitates and rehydrates dying animals for re-release into the wild, but if heat like this continues, the director predicted, “there is not going to be much we can do for the animals.”
As animals go, so go we
Scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology report that a “ wet-bulb ” temperature of 95° F — a measure that considers both heat and humidity — is the absolute limit of human survival. The human body temperature is around 98° F, allowing for a constant balance between heat loss and heat gain. But there’s a temperature/humidity point at which the human body can’t lose heat fast enough. At that point, everything in the body, from enzymes to organs, including kidneys , lungs , heart and brain , begins to shut down.
According to MIT, a sunny area with 50 percent humidity and no wind will hit an unlivable wet-bulb temperature of 95°F when the thermometer reaches only 109 °F.
A billboard shows the current temperature over 100 degrees on June 5, 2024, in Phoenix, Ariz According to the National Weather Service, Phoenix will experience record temperatures over 100 degrees as a pattern of high pressure builds over the region. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Last year, temperatures in many U.S. cities, especially in Texas, Florida and Arizona , repeatedly exceeded 109 °F, to say nothing of newly uninhabitable regions in Mexico, Asia, the Middle East and Africa .
Many U.S. cities will again surpass 109 °F this year, causing heat-related deaths and illness. Between 2004 and 2021 , the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports, heat-related deaths in the U.S. increased by a whopping 439 percent.
Oil-funded Republicans refuse to adapt
No serious debate remains about what is causing the climate to change. Scientists have known, for decades , that this point was coming. We have the technology to reduce carbon emissions and re-develop an energy grid with sufficient capacity ; engineers and scientists calculated years ago that there’s more than enough wind, solar and hydro power to meet the needs of all people — and manufacturers — on earth.
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The intelligent adaptation to dead animals falling from the sky would be a transition to renewable energy as quickly as practicable, blending a graduated mix of alternative fuels with decreasing reliance on petrofuels.
But instead of modeling Darwin’s survival of the fittest and adapting new energy strategies, Republican governors of southern states — states experiencing climate change at accelerated rates — are modeling what happens when species refuse to adapt.
Emboldened by former President Donald Trump, these strutting dodo birds are attacking climate science while at the same time seeking extraordinary federal funding for climate mitigation. (President Biden: awarding climate mitigation funds to governors who lie about climate science is self-defeating.)
Darwinism on display
In Florida this spring, cities such as Miami were hit with extreme heat even before the arrival of summer.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, addicted to culture wars and language bans, just signed a law that removes the words “climate change” from state publications , forbids the construction of offshore windmills and halts the state’s clean energy goals.
To DeSantis, people concerned about climate change are “ radical green zealots .” Meanwhile, his state’s beloved manatees are disappearing , storm-battered Floridians can’t afford property insurance and buildings are collapsing in coastal cities.
In Texas , another of the most threatened U.S. states when it comes to sea level rise, hurricanes and extreme heat, Republican Gov. Greg Abbott refers to Biden’s climate efforts as “an attack ” on Texas jobs, and he vowed to “fight” the “climate agenda.”
Even though Texas has ranked first in the number of billion-dollar disasters per year since 2001, Abbott has vowed to “exclude renewables from any revived economic incentive program,” and he supported bills to lower support for wind and solar projects while forcing renewable energy to subsidize fossil fuel expansion.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott looks on during a weather briefing on January 31, 2023 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Bell/Getty Images)
Livestock farming, a major methane contributor, creates deplorable lives for the animals while simultaneously warming the planet. There are humane solutions that could alleviate both problems. What are Republican governors doing? They are banning or trying to ban cruelty-free meat produced in a lab — dictating to everyone else what they can and cannot eat, and effectively mandating animal cruelty and methane emissions at the same time.
The list of GOP maladaptions goes on. Republican leaders are attacking science overall, while on a parallel crusade to delegitimize truth, the rule of law and democratic institutions. They’re turning American ignorance into a malignant tumor hellbent on killing its host.
DeSantis and Abbott deserve Darwin Awards
DeSantis and Abbott, along with Republican attorneys general in 19 states who just asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block climate action , are entertaining know-nothing voters, attacking climate science frontstage and collecting donations from Koch Industries ’ backstage. It’s all performative ignorance, like watching Cro-Magnon men show up at a ballet, dragging women by the hair.
The unfortunate twist is that, as long as we share the same planet, the Cro-Magnon is dragging all of us by our hair.
Darwin Awards commemorate idiots who protect our gene pool by dying in an extraordinarily idiotic manner, thereby improving our species’ chances of long-term survival.
We need a parallel award when the most ignorant members of a species doom the rest of it.

webintern@dakdan.com

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