Here in Seattle the citizenry has been stunned by an uncharacteristic pre-winter storm season that has brought a call from Mayor Greg Nickels to stay indoors unless it is vitally necessary to venture outside.
Last night popular KIRO television news anchor Monique Ming Laven mentioned her difficult walk, one where she said "I could see my life flashing in front of me"- as she walked home from the station location just south of Seattle Center back along Queen Anne Avenue on the steep upgrade leading to Upper Queen Anne on a heavily snow laden street.
Also on last night's local television news a distressed woman talked about waiting on normally busy Highway 99, also known as Aurora Avenue, for an hour and a half waiting for a bus to take her downtown. She needed to pick up medication.
Other people had waited at that same stop for better than three hours for a bus. Fewer buses were available and many routes had been cancelled due to the elements, with some stalled at the transit center and unable to function as a result of conditions.
Just a few weeks back I observed a report from Alaska, which bears close links to the state of Washington, and observed the distress of polar bears. They face possible extinction as temperatures rise and polar ice caps melt due to climate change.
During this holiday season when we prepare to beckon 2009 and a new leader prepares to take office in the United States, it is imperative for Barack Obama to declare early and emphatically that one of the areas of fundamental change he promised during the previous long and arduous presidential election campaign of meaningful change in the international sphere will be realized.
An essential area to act is in the realm of climate control. The tragedy of the George Bush "go it alone"- mentality with the Kyoto Protocols is not only shameful and insulting in a world context, but is foolishly dangerous.
We live on a planet that has shrunk from the time that our Founders Fathers launched the American experiment as a new wave of technology puts us at the virtual doorsteps of nations previously thought to be distant neighbors at best.
It is vital for the nations of the world to harness the finest and most advanced minds in the realm of resource allocation and preservation to eliminate waste and acute hunger. The survival of the planet necessitates rising above a selfish New World Order mentality with dominant roles of international conglomerates.
The United Nations and vital U.S. allies such as France, Germany and Sweden were rudely insulted in the anxious build-up to the Iraq War spurred on before Bush and Cheney took office by the Project for the New American Century and its ambitious global agenda.
President Jacques Chirac of France was notably and visibly insulted as was the nation he led, one that supplied troops to assist the colonists led by General George Washington during the American Revolution and gifted the U.S. with the statue of liberty.
French toast was replaced on Air Force One by "freedom toast"- in a pathetic display of xenophobic jingoism that appealed to the most strident voices in right wing talk show land.
We can and must do better. The planet is at stake and it will take a team effort to provide necessary change.