The most basic role of a governmentis to protect its citizens from dangers too large and complex for individuals to deal with on their own. Global warming is just such a danger. Any legitimate government has a duty to protect the air, the water, and all the other natural systems that sustain its people. Everyone has a right to a livable environment -- the young and the old, the powerful and the voiceless, present generations and those not yet born -- but runaway climate change threatens us all.
Earth's climate has passed through many warm and cold phases over many millions of years, but the carbon added to the atmosphere by humans during the past two centuries has changed everything. Earth's carbon cycle has been thrown out of balance: receding glaciers, hotter summers, and more frequent natural disasters are just a few of the early symptoms.
We still have a chance to restore the balance, but time is running out. Congress is deadlocked, the Obama administration has failed to show leadership, and the climate crisis is close to spiraling out of control. Take to the courts. Take to the streets. Demand a solution to global warming. And tell the children . . . they matter.