We are hardly the first generation to face great challenges. In recent memory there was World War II. Though very tough, it wasn't too confusing: Hitler was evil and wrong; Pearl Harbor was abominable. The situations were addressed with the most drastic means. Several generations lived through the Cold War/Vietnam/anti-communism phase. These conflicts challenged reason and resolve and drove our blood pressure through the roof.
But our generation faces a different kind of situation. We're altering the fundamental life-giving balance of the planet as a whole. It is our means versus ourselves. We have to be honest and intelligent enough to realize that our means of subsistence on the sphere cannot be sustained, and we must invent new means of thriving that do not violate the larger carbon cycles, water cycles, mineral distributions, etc.
So why can't we? It's not the intelligence part. We have a sophistocated (though not exhaustive) picture of the planetary situation. The problem is with the honesty part. Intentional manipulation of information has caused the public to be unnessecarily confused by the impacts of our presence on the planet.
The above places blame on the larger corporate/political infrastructure. Personal responsibility also exists where we have individually allowed ourselves to excuse our own behaviors under the pretense that the consequences are ambiguous.
So, okay, let's move forward. And we could if the public conversation could be legitimized. But it can't be as long as climate change denial is granted fair-other-side-of-the-coin status. Evidence can show certain things to be correct or incorrect, and unfortunately in this situation it didn't take long for evidence to accumulate. Record high temperatures, record droughts, storms, rain, flooding, snowfall—all are being achieved worldwide.
We cannot resign. This is the challenge of our generation. Are we the victims of video-game leisure-reality or can we still put our boots on and do something? The next phase of the planet depends on how we handle this, and I still think we can bring this planet to life. It starts with having a well–informed public conversation with empiricism as the moderator.
We will either be the generation who walked off the cliff or the generation who built the bridge. I will fight for this country and this world with all the passion and technology I can bring, but it will only make a difference if we as a nation are honest about our responsibility to live in balance with the natural systems of the planet.