As societies evolved it became important for survival to distinguish between them and us.
This was probably the genesis of tribes.
Individual families joined with their extended relatives to form clans, and these clans coalesced into tribes.
Religions are the largest tribes, then sovereign countries and then down to the “hood” or the “rez.”
Even within these there is further stratification into Democrats and Republicans.
Each group, or tribe, tends to share and hold fast to a set of values and beliefs and denies, resists or prohibits any changes to their system.
Ignorant of the fact that climate change comes with it, Republican senators from fossil fuel states – coal in Wyoming and West Virginia, oil states like North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Alaska and Louisiana – have consistently blocked and resisted any meaningful action to limit CO2 emissions that come from burning fossil fuels.
It is an economic as well as a tribal issue.
This is the tragedy of the tribe. What’s good for some may not be good for all.
I have found that not all Republicans are ignorant. But it seems that many ignorant people are Republicans.
How else to explain the desire to exploit the earth’s natural resources for profit, without regard to the air we breathe, the water, the atmosphere and the oceans surrounding us.
Most global warming deniers are Republicans. This is almost a litmus test for tribal and party membership.
It is head in the sand ignorance to deny the record 200 mph hurricanes, worldwide floods or the devastating warmth and drought in the West that is projected to persist and wax in the next decade.
The polar vortex has plagued us the last two years, when a hundred million people were buried in snow, 60 vehicle pileups and stranded motorists occurred night after night, thousands without electricity for days, from falling trees and downed wires.
To their credit, the Senate voted 99 to 1 in January to confirm that climate change is real, but did not admit that it is manmade, so we really don’t have to do anything different.
James Hanson, chief atmospheric scientist for NASA, before he was canned in a shoot the messenger scenario, highlighted 350 parts per million of CO2 as a not-to-exceed limit if we want to avoid irreversible feedback loops.
One of these, melting of permafrost that releases methane, which is 25 times more potent than CO2 and will accelerate and exasperate the problem, is already upon us.
Due to inaction and obstruction, CO2 reached 400 PPM in 2013.
We have crossed a threshold into a brave new world where we will all learn that it is not cool to mess with Mother Nature.
This is obviously maladaptive and unsustainable and not good for the planet or its inhabitants.
We must get beyond this tragedy of the tribes until we all see and agree what’s happening and can agree on what needs to be done and start doing it.