In a letter calling out President Trump for ignoring science and for his slow response to the coronavirus pandemic, movie icon Robert Redford shared something positive that we can take away from all of this. Redford, along with his son, penned an opinion piece published by NBC News. They said that the president has failed “to act quickly and decisively” in the face of a health crisis. This crisis has leftover 60,000 Americans dead, perhaps many more. Our economy has also been shut down much longer than in countries that reacted quickly and decisively, like South Korea.
Despite all of this, the duo shared that there is something positive we, society, can learn from this time. “COVID-19 has shown us the power of sound science, true leadership, and early action. We must honor this knowledge if we want to avoid what is coming.” They encourage a similar approach to take on climate change, which Trump has called a “Chinese hoax,” and other more derogatory terms.
The Redfords share that the task is not without its challenges, as we have “global entities unwilling to adjust their profits for the greater good.” Also, many governments across the globe — even our own — are sluggish when it comes to protecting our environment. Another challenge is the need for a change in our own values and priorities. This would require a “shift strong enough to wrest control of environmental policies held hostage by stakeholders desperately clinging to their profits and power.”
Even though millions have glimpsed a world without pollution as the earth quickly started healing itself once everyone stayed home, the Redfords have a warning. “Make no mistake, the worst of climate change awaits us in the near future.” This is because our government’s and those corporations unwilling to sacrifice their profits for cleaner air or cleaner oceans are still that — unwilling. They don’t feel the urgency when it comes to protecting our climate as they did when it came to flattening the curve of COVID-19.
The good news is that science has proven itself when it comes to the coronavirus. People are seeing just how sound it is. If science is sound in dealing with a pandemic, then perhaps we should listen to the scientists and researchers who have been, for decades, warning us to change our ways and stop putting profits over the livelihood of our planet.
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