In 1905, Albert Einstein published his first theory of relativity. He was aware at the time that his theory allowed for the massive release of energy from small amounts of matter, based on Marie Curie’s discovery that a single ounce of radium releases 4,000 calories of energy per hour.
In 1933, Albert Einstein emigrated to the United States after coming to believe he was no longer safe in nazi Germany. Shortly afterward, Germany officially declared Einstein to be a traitor, and his name was banned from public utterance, but Einstein was not the only brilliant European mind to see the writing on the wall and flee for either England or America. Hans Bethe, John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, James Franck, Edward Teller, Rudolf Peierls, Klaus Fuchs, and Enrico Fermi were other European scientists who fled the growing fascism in Europe who later worked on the Manhattan Project.
During that time, the United States and the United Kingdom were seen as the two best nations for the world’s brightest minds to be.
Germany’s short-sightedness turned out to be a greater blessing than we could have ever imagined. Had those scientists not fled their home countries for safer, more inviting borders, Germany would have been the first to develop a nuclear weapon and the history we know would be much, much different.
Today, June 1st, donald trump declared that the United States would be one of only three nations on the planet to withdraw from or not join at all the Paris climate accord, or Paris Agreement. Part of the reasoning, trump told those assembled at the White House that one reason he was withdrawing from the treaty was, “We don’t want other countries and other leaders to laugh at us anymore.”
I’ll pause and wait for you to first, stop laughing, and then, to let the irony of his statement sink in.
Nicaragua did not sign the agreement because they felt it did not go far enough to mitigate the effects of global warming. Syria did not sign it because they are embroiled in a devastating civil war and did not take part in the talks at all.
But the United States? Our government’s “official” stance is that global warming is not happening, and trump thinks making that our stand will prevent the rest of the world from laughing at us.
When our government legislates that we can no longer even mention global warming in public (much like what Germany did to Einstein), where will our climate scientists emigrate to?
Wait. Hold on. Florida officials already banned mention of the term climate change (take that, nazi Germany).
When our scientists begin leaving in droves for more welcoming cultures, what will we sacrifice in the long run? What, to play Devil’s Advocate, will the world gain?
As many around the world are now saying, with this move, America has finally forfeited its position as the leader of the free world.
Fuck trump. Here’s your picture: