Let’s Do Nothing

Let’s do nothing! is a children’s book and I have a promotional button for it, some non-currency in which my daughter was ‘paid’ for taking part in a review of the book. The button is stuck up in my office, occasionally catches my eye and is, in general, a good reminder.

And doing nothing, wasting time, is in general a very solid idea. Because, of course, you’re not literally doing nothing – you’re thinking, reflecting, being still… not to mention all of things you’re not doing: driving, talking, watching. And certainly if you’ve avoided these things for any length of time today or any day, it is not time wasted. So generally speaking, doing nothing is the route to all things good, and even green.

But there is such a thing as wasting time, just as there is a time beyond which when doing nothing is advisable. And these are precisely the things in which Republican presidential candidates (no need for a link, because it’s all of them) are telling us they will be engaged in, if any of them is elected:

“Do I think the world’s getting hotter? Yeah, I don’t know that but I think that it is,” Romney told a crowd in New Hampshire Wednesday, according to Reuters. “I don’t know if it’s mostly caused by humans.”

Romney then tilted over and grabbed some of Rick Perry’s Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)-endorsed ideas on the environment. That is, let’s not spend a time doing anything about it.

“What I’m not willing to do is spend trillions of dollars on something I don’t know the answer to,” Romney said.

We must take them at their word. It seems obtuse to point this out, but when it comes to climate change, ghg emissions, energy and the closely-related issue of jobs, the time for doing nothing is quite past. Even the polluting industries are waiting to see what the new regulations will be so that they can adjust – even they don’t believe they can keep doing things the same way indefinitely – even if someone manages to abolish the EPA. The realities on the ground won’t change, and at some point we’ll see that we’ve truly been wasting time, and not in a good way.