Our children and grandchildren will not remember many of the items driving our domestic news cycle today. The debt ceiling and sequestrations and political bickering will be a footnote in history. The next generation will be dealing most urgently with the effects of climate change, caused and driven by our unwillingness to change our habits and lifestyle.

It is not a startling revelation that we as a species are lazy and selfish. The part of the story I find disturbing, however, is how easily and effectively corporations and those who stand to gain from continuing pollution have misinformed and misled our populace, and how so-called conservatives were leading the arguments against climate change too emphatically.

Let’s call it what it is — business and the Republican Party engaged in a long-term propaganda campaign that was massively successful on the populace. Even now, around 50 percent of Americans don’t believe the science community consensus that climate change is accelerating and is likely manmade. Apparently, we are all climatologists.

I consider myself to be conservative. In the face of this overwhelming consensus among the people who know the subject better than me, I would want to proceed with caution. Like most Americans, I want to continue our way of life and our economic growth in perpetuity. If the outcome of this is to cause the utter devastation of our planet’s climate, however, then the truly conservative approach would be to take structured and scientifically based steps to change this outcome without destroying our economy.

After all, there’s nothing conservative about allowing my car to drive off a cliff if my steering wheel is perfectly able to help me avoid it. We owe it to ourselves and our offspring to approach climate change conservatively, and to do it now.

Jon Buck, Winthrop

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