First off, what do I mean by boiling frogs? If you’re unfamiliar with this apparent truth, if one were to put frogs in a pot of water and very slowly heat it, the frogs wouldn’t notice the water was heating to a deadly degree and would die in the water.
I mean several things in using this as a metaphor for the U.S. population today.
- In limbo about climate change: We are, very sadly, some of the most uniformed or misinformed people in the world when it comes to climate change. While Americans have very limited and incorrect knowledge about climate change, the fossil fuel industries and the people they’ve confused are set on keep science-based education on the matter out of our educational systems. Furthermore, with the public largely confused about the matter (from false scandals like Climategate), we cannot hold our politicians accountable when they engage in a full-out assault on policies to address this critical matter.
- Unaware of who is running our government and how they manipulate us: Why would our politicians be doing things that don’t benefit the public at large anyway? Well, because they have been bought buy big industry. Of course, people always mumble about such things, but I think most people are not aware of how bad it has gotten. The 2010 elections smashed spending records, with republicans benefitting the most and a huge percentage of that increase coming from outside groups (not the political parties themselves). The $4 billion spent on those elections goes towards creating the most numerous TV and radio ads (all you really need to sway the American public these days) and putting politicians in office. Once that is done, who do the politicians respond to? Not the fickle U.S. voter, but the rich industries that put them in office. Unless we wake up and take back control of our political system, expect things to get worse and worse for the common citizen.
- Ignorant of our fall from grace (as the world’s global economic leader): While we are unaware of the threat of climate change, we think we are the smartest people in the world. While our political system is corrupt and bought, we think we have a truly democratic society based on a near-perfect governmental system and need to help other countries develop the same. While we think we are standing at #1, at the top of the world, economically, in quality of life, and otherwise, we are not (see: China #1, United States #2? 25 Facts That Prove The Transition Is Really Happening; China at No. 1 — already; America No.1?; 10 Industries in Which the U.S. Is No Longer No. 1).
The bottom line: we are running our environment into the ground, and are unaware of it. Our economy is dropping and is being passed up by China’s fast — most Americans probably have no idea. Our political system has become more and more corrupt and one of the highest bidders get to make the laws.
Is there hope? I think so. I think the American public, unlike a frog, can wake up and see that this is happening and jump out of the boiling water (or that the heat is going up so fast now, we might just notice). However, at this point, who knows. Things are going downward as they ever have, it seems. What can you do? Share the news, inform people, speak up, & get people involved.
Related Story: Get Involved in Politics.. Hear Me Out (Going Green Tip #14)