April 15 was the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. April 22 is Earth Day. So what?
Everyone knows the story of the Titanic. It was equipped with all the latest technological bells and whistles and it was believed to be unsinkable. The owners were so sure the ship was invincible they didn’t provide enough lifeboats and the crew wasn’t well prepared for an emergency.
Although he was warned of icebergs in the area, the captain was so confident in the ship that he went at full speed. When an iceberg got in the way, he could neither stop the ship nor turn in time. The mighty Titanic smacked into the iceberg and sunk, taking 2,200 people with it. It has been learned since that neither the ship nor the technology was all it was cracked up to be.
What has this to do with Earth Day?
Well, a growing number of people believe our politicians and big businesses are, like the Titanic, ignoring the “iceberg” of climate change. They say too many of the people who are making money from our current system are in positions of powers and they won’t let go because they believe technology will overcome nature, (human error too?). So even if there is an iceberg out there, it can’t sink us.
Well, there is more evidence that the climate is changing than there is that it is not. Earth Day is a good time to consider our position.
When the Titanic went down, first-class men, who were praised for letting steerage women and children go first in the lifeboats, actually survived at a higher rate than the third-class children. So, if we want to take our chances on hitting the iceberg, fine, but let’s be sure we have enough lifeboats (arable land and water) for everyone, including those of us in steerage.
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.