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Thomas C. Ramey is the author and illustrator of Saving Sam: An Illustrated State of the Union. He illustrated Alice in Blunderland by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jack Anderson, and has illustrations appearing in the book Inspired by Insects.
The former Chairman of the International Fund for Animal Welfare, Mr. Ramey is also the former Chairman of Liberty International, Liberty Mutual Group.
He is currently an Honorary Trustee of The Brookings Institution and Director of Axis Capital. He and his wife, author Perrin Ireland, divide their time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and Washington, DC.
I was exasperated by the disingenuous and willful ignorance of many of our politicians and business leaders who, in the face of all of the evidence (and usually for reasons of personal ambition and financial gain) continue to deny the reality and impact of obvious and disastrous changes in our climate.
The “I’m not a scientist” argument is absurd. Politicians opine on health issues, yet they’re not doctors; on the economy, yet they’re not economists; on war, although they’re not soldiers. One need only be literate and have one’s eyes open to witness the extraordinary changes occurring around us daily. The accompanying assertion that deniers make about disagreement among scientist is also meritless: countless peer review studies about the negative impact of humans on the environment are indisputable. This is settled science, with increasingly far-reaching—and yes, deadly—ramifications.
I’ve been an executive in the property casualty (P and C) insurance industry for over thirty years. That business is driven by studying trends, risks, and exposures. Get these wrong, and you don’t stay in business very long. The P and C industry has been aware of climate change for years. Concurrently, the EPA, NOAA, NASA, the SEC, and the Department of Defense, all acknowledge the existence and impact of climate change, to include the compounding impact of drought, famine, flooding, disappearing water resources, rising sea levels, the resulting political instability leading to rogue nations, tens of millions of souls fleeing civil conflict across the globe, all occurring, with greatly enhanced access to proliferating weapons of mass destruction. In other words, we have clear trends, risks, and exposures, what the Department of Defense calls “threat multipliers.”
Because it’s highly possible. This is why I’ve linked the pieces together, illustrating the frightening momentum they portend. It’s extremely concerning that we have a government, knowing what we know, seeking to cut the EPA by 31%, the State Department by 27%, to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement signed by 195 nations, to reverse laws to provide clean water, and seek to ramp up coal production, while slashing funding for R and D for renewable energy sources and the jobs they create. This is not a situation that can be sugar-coated. We have the knowledge and the capability to address these issues. There is no excuse, and certainly no time to waste. There is no upside to this situation if we don’t act.
It is. I’ve been flying over the Amazon Basin at least twice a year for over 20 years, and before that with frequency since the early 1970s. The disappearance of the forest, as a steady, unrelenting process, has been striking. I’ve experienced first hand over several decades the crushing air pollution in China and India, seen the impact of palm oil plantations in Indonesia, salt water intrusion in the Mekong Delta, and walked the now frequently flooded city streets of Miami and Annapolis. As a blue water sailor, I watched the growth of unimaginable junk and other forms of pollution in the Atlantic and Caribbean. Reefs are dying. Frogs, bees, butterflies are disappearing; we are killing to extinction elephants and rhinos. People are being displaced and starving in unprecedented numbers. Simply observing these developments is no longer enough.
I wanted to put the pieces of the puzzle together in an easily accessible way. The background data of insects seemed appropriate because they have survived all the extinctions. This is compared to the story of Man’s miniscule time on earth as only one species, creating, with his extraordinary gift of intelligence, his own extinction.
I’ve used a bug as narrator and illustrations on every page, as a way to visually connect all the pieces of the story and drive its momentum from the first insect, to Man, to the End.
I didn’t. I was introduced to the quill pen and ink in the 10th grade by Mrs. Locke. Hers was the only art class I ever took. I’ve been doodling and drawing ever since. My progression from doodler, to cartoons, to serious illustrations is in large part thanks to my wife, Perrin Ireland, who has always pushed me to do more. She is still pushing, for which I am grateful.
350.org – 350.org
Environmental Defense Fund – edf.org
Friends of the Earth – foe.org
International Fund for Animal Welfare – ifaw.org
Natural Resources Defense Council – nrdc.org
Nature Conservancy – nature.org
The Sierra Club – sierraclub.org
World Wildlife Fund – worldwildlife.org
Xerces Society – xerces.org
“Scott Pruitt, the head of the EPA, plans to convene a team of researchers to test the scientific premise of human-caused climate change, he told coal industry executives….” He told a lobbying…
China’s smog is notorious, being at least ten times greater than the WHO’s maximum safe level. Water pollution is equally bad, in addition to water shortages. But the buried bomb is its contaminated…