Senior Editor
Staff

The Inertia

Arnold Schwarzenegger wasn’t a terribly good governor. Like many (most) politicians, he entered the office with high expectations (and sexual harassment allegations), quickly forgot about all the promises he’d made on the campaign trail/realized they weren’t possible, and then left the office with everyone disappointed (and a sex scandal). But he was the Terminator, so all is forgiven.

One thing he’s got right, though, is his stance on the environment. Oh, such a complicated subject! How to go about phasing out oil and gas and coal and etc without phasing out those jobs? How to go about greening our power without losing billions of dollars? It’s such a tangled web, but it should be obvious that it needs to happen. It should be happening, but amid climate change deniers, angry, fat cat capitalists, and those dumb-as-a-post people who only have the capacity to read what their other dumb-as-a-post friends regurgitate, it can be easy to lose sight of the obvious: pollution is bad. Arnie’s response? “I don’t give a **** if we agree about climate change.”

That was the title of something he wrote just under a year ago. Here’s a link to it in its entirety. Take a second to read it. Don’t just skim it. He’s attempting to cut through all the bullshit by asking three simple questions. The answers are obvious. Here’s an excerpt:

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There are always a few of you, asking why we should care about the temperature rising, or questioning the science of climate change.

I want you to know that I hear you. Even those of you who say renewable energy is a conspiracy. Even those who say climate change is a hoax. Even those of you who use four letter words.

I’ve heard all of your questions, and now I have three questions for you. Let’s put climate change aside for a minute. In fact, let’s assume you’re right.

First – do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution? That’s more than murders, suicides, and car accidents combined.

Every day, 19,000 people die from pollution from fossil fuels. Do you accept those deaths? Do you accept that children all over the world have to grow up breathing with inhalers?

Now, my second question: do you believe coal and oil will be the fuels of the future? Besides the fact that fossil fuels destroy our lungs, everyone agrees that eventually, they will run out. What’s your plan then?

I, personally, want a plan. I don’t want to be like the last horse and buggy salesman who was holding out as cars took over the roads. I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged. That’s exactly what is going to happen to fossil fuels.

A clean energy future is a wise investment, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either wrong or lying. Either way, I wouldn’t take their investment advice.

Here’s the frustrating part about all this. If you’re of the belief that the way we’re doing things right now is actually ok, it’s probably not possible to change your mind. Donald Trump is set to take one of the most powerful seats on the planet, and he’s chosen to be blind to the environmental issues we’ve created. He’s hellbent on making some serious money, which is a good thing. He also wholeheartedly believes that climate change isn’t real–or that it’s a hoax created by the Chinese. But when 99% of the world’s leading researchers (who aren’t paid by oil companies) agree that not only is climate change happening (just has it has for billions of years) but that humans are accelerating it at a very alarming rate, it’s strange to see the President-elect completely ignoring them. In fact, parts of his 100-Day-Plan are downright terrifying. He also just hired a new person to head up the EPA named Myron Ebell. Here’s the scary part about that: Ebell is just about the biggest, loudest climate change denier on earth. All those carbon-restrictions? Well, seeya later. “Some politicians even want to shut down the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon,” said Arnie. “I’d like to strap their mouths to the exhaust pipe of a truck. Turn on the engine and let’s see how long it would take them to tap out.”

So let’s get back to Arnie. He doesn’t give a damn if you agree with him about climate change. What he’s talking about is part and parcel, of course, but pollution also has very real consequences right now. Arnie’s final question sums it up very well:

There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.

I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.

I’m guessing you chose the Door Number Two, with the electric car, right? Door number one is a fatal choice – who would ever want to breathe those fumes? This is the choice the world is making right now.