I was in college in 1962 when Malvina Reynolds released her song, “What Have They Done to the Rain?” Also sung by Joan Baez, it was a protest against atmospheric nuclear bomb tests, which brought radioactive Strontium 90, detected in kids’ baby teeth, to the earth in toxic rainstorms.
One year after the song was released, President John F. Kennedy signed the historic treaty banning open-air nuclear tests due to the public health hazards.
Now, as Spokane is engulfed in hazardous smoke from 80 forest fires and the South is hit by vicious hurricanes and floods, I’m calling for a new protest song: “What Have They Done to Our Earth?”
This anthem should assail the fossil fuel industry and complicit politicians like Donald Trump and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who deny human-caused global warming despite overwhelming scientific evidence that we’re reaching the Earth’s tipping point.
The 2014 National Climate Assessment predicted our once-beautiful summers would get hotter, the air more moisture-laden and wildfires more dangerous to human health. This is the “new normal.”
Any politician who denies this sobering existential threat should be driven from office in favor of people who choose action to combat global warming.
Karen Dorn Steele