Dear Charles and David:
My name is John W. Mears, and I am an English teacher living in the Los Angeles area. I write to you now as a father, and – hopefully, one day – as a grandfather. I write out of concern for the world in which my daughter and her children will grow up. I am sure that you also would like your children and grandchildren to grow up in a world with a viable future. Further, I am guessing that, as forward-thinking men, you would like to be remembered by future historians as having done more good than harm to our world.
Many have demonized you, and made “the Koch brothers” synonymous with all that is evil with capitalism and conservative politics. There has been much propagandizing and many accusations. I wonder if anyone has approached the two of you as intelligent, reasonable human beings, capable of compassion, vision, fair-mindedness, open-mindedness, and a genuine concern for the future of our planet, and for our children and grandchildren.
As I’m sure you know, a United Nations report issued in November 2014 cited “clear and growing” evidence that human activity is causing changes in the climate system. The report warned that — if left unchecked — climate change will be very bad for all of us.
I’m sure you also know that the overwhelming preponderance of scientific data and other evidence points to the conclusion that — because human activity is causing dramatic changes in the Earth’s climate — Arctic and Antarctic ice is melting. This has already begun to cause a rise in sea levels, which threatens every coastal city in the world. Additionally, wrenching changes in earth’s ecosystems are already beginning to cause the extinction of many species, as well as convulsive scarcities in water and food that could ultimately lead to increasing international conflict, global thermonuclear war, and the extinction of life on our planet as we know it.
And yet there is hope. R. K. Pachauri, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said in November 2014: “The solutions are many and allow for continued economic and human development. All we need is the will to change, which we trust will be motivated by knowledge and an understanding of the science of climate change.”
However, as I’m sure you’re well aware, time is running out.
Through your vast wealth and influence, you are uniquely positioned to affect massive changes for good or ill. Until now, however, it seems you have used your considerable influence — through your think tanks and lobbyists — to deny that humans are causing climate change, thereby greatly hindering efforts to save the world from the coming catastrophes.
David, you have a residence in New York City. If the trends towards climate change and sea level rise are not changed or reversed, your beloved Manhattan will at the very least get a lot smaller, and your subway stations will start to look more and more like this.
Charles, you have a house in Wichita, Kansas. Perhaps you know NASA scientists have predicted that global warming could dry up the Midwest by 2050, in long-lasting “megadroughts” that will make the Dust Bowl look like a bad day for a picnic.
With great power comes great responsibility. How would you like to be remembered in history, if indeed we survive the coming centuries? Do you want to be remembered as saviors, or destroyers of humankind?
In any case, none of us wants to leave our grandchildren a world ravaged by megadroughts, rising sea levels, convulsive weather patterns, mass starvation and endless wars for vanishing resources.
Please join humanity’s struggle to survive imminent disaster. Instruct your lobbyists and think tanks to advocate for – not against – a sustainable future for our home planet.