(Tom Toles)
Editorial cartoonist

People love to eulogize the dead. George H.W. Bush was apparently a great and noble man. The dead somehow were always heroes of some sort or another. Among the living? Not so many heroes on the climate issue. The few that exist are ignored, or scorned.

Yes, the world keeps turning. It is turning from climate problem to climate crisis (where we are now) and will continue to turn toward climate catastrophe. Yet where are the heroes among those who actually hold power? They are holding their power in one hand and their money in the other hand, and so, you know, their hands are tied. Addressing climate change might cost some money, and the only money we are allowed to spend to protect ourselves can only be spent on weaponry. It’s just too bad that you can’t fight climate change with an aircraft carrier. I once drew a cartoon of the U.S. military arrayed on the deck of a ship, pointing guns at a melting glacier and yelling “Freeze!” It didn’t. So the world will just have to die, is all.

The science of climate change has been a perfect illustration of the Cassandra legend. She had been given the gift of prophecy, but also the curse that no one would believe her. Think about what that would be like. Bummer. It’s like now. Everyone who knew warned us, but a well-funded campaign by fossil-fuel interests made sure that no one believed them. Actually, now we are in the sequel, Cassandra II, where everyone believes her, but no one will lift a finger to do anything to help.

Those of us who live long enough, and it won’t need to be that long, will look back and shake their heads that people (us) did virtually nothing to stop the catastrophe. No heroes here among the living. “Huh. How did we let THAT happen?” we will discuss as we watch the bodies flow past us on the floodwaters, just before we ourselves are sucked in and away.

More cartoons and blog posts by Tom Toles:

A Green New Deal is the infrastructure plan we need to be thinking about

Trump’s climate policy doesn’t pass the smell test

The good news is we are only burning up a little bit of our planet at a time