Pine Nuts: The last wake-up call |

Pine Nuts: The last wake-up call

In December of 2019 the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ordered the Dutch government to cut the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by the end of 2020. This marked the very first time any nation had been ordered by its own courts to take action against climate change. Thus, the Netherlands might go down in world history as the country that saved Mother Earth. Please stand and applaud. The attorneys who brought that landmark suit should be rewarded with a Nobel Peace Prize and a tickertape parade down Broadway, or at least Kalverstratt.

While many of us marinated folks might still have our heads buried in the sand, it’s the youngsters who are starting to make a difference. Young Greta Thunberg of Sweden castigates us with words that sting like a bee. “Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are in the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you!” I would like to take that young lady to lunch. Yet not all of us grizzled-folks have our heads in the sand. United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres at a conference on biodiversity loss expressed his concerns. “Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal.”

Science continues to gather evidence of Earth’s collapsing biodiversity faster than society is willing to assimilate that evidence, and that lag is due in part to the fact that the protections necessary to limit climate crisis often involve deep cuts in income to people with political clout. Remember how the tobacco companies defended their products in court? Climate catastrophe deniers will be doing the same as we start to pass directly from flood season to fire season, and their children start to learn about spring and fall from history books in school.

We must adjust how we measure our economic success, as gross domestic product does not account for the depreciation of environmental assets. Continuing to ignore the value of nature in our global economy, well, this is a threat to our very existence as we know it. Four months of rain in four hours can dampen an otherwise lovely day, just as a wildfire that spews it’s own lightening can ruin an otherwise lovely day. We are finally starting to understand that our economies are embedded in nature, and not hovering somewhere above nature.

There’s an old saw that “Mother Nature Bats Last.” But if Mother Nature is so sick when she comes to the plate that she cannot lift the bat, well, “We are all up Suck Creek without a paddle.”

World governments have an urgent obligation to increase decarbonization. We must encourage, and litigate when necessary, global efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions. We need to look upon nature as our Native Americans do, with awe and reverence. Our grandchildren of 2050 are counting on us …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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