Recently, an article was published in the New York Times regarding the new wealth of “rare earth metals” now attainable in Greenland. Due to a massive recession in the Greenland ice caps, one of the world’s largest stores of rare earth metals is now within reach. Now that that pesky ice has melted (much like the Wicked Witch of the West), Greenland’s government seems overjoyed with this new development and is poised to capitalize on this recent tragedy, claiming that this opportunity will create jobs, boost the country’s economy, increase citizen morale, and give Greenland more “political authority” than it has ever had before.
Well, isn’t this strange? Since climate change and global warming have become major issues, most major governments across the globe have attempted to delay the onset of irreversible climate change and have put into place new measures to become more environmentally friendly, albeit slowly in the majority of cases. Not in this case, though. Rather than being concerned, Greenland is welcoming the warmer weather. Ole Christiansen, chief executive of Greenland’s largest mining company (and the reincarnation of the Wicked Witch of the West), NunamMinerals, says, “For me, I wouldn’t mind if the whole ice cap disappears….As it melts, we’re seeing new places with very attractive geology.” Yes, and once all of those houses had been leveled by cluster bombs, there was finally enough space for a McDonalds in Iraq.
While this is yet another example of gross capitalist ignorance, it poses a new challenge to our generation and the U.S. as a major world power. Obviously, members of our generation are the ones who are going to suffer significantly as a result of older generations’ decisions. This brings to mind the principle of stewardship. As inhabitants of this world we have a duty and a responsibility to maintain this earth for future generations and for each other. As stewards, our generation has to ask, are we really going to stand by and let political figures take a capitalist approach to these matters and see where they can benefit from these types of disgraces? If this keeps up, developers will be building mansions on the graveyards of rain forests based on the fact that there’s plenty of land there.
The United States, as a major (if not THE) world superpower has an obligation to set an example for smaller nations. To some extent, we have been doing that, especially under the current administration (although, Obama could have done more). We need to set an example. We need to view global warming and climate change as major threats to our planet and to the human race, not as a means of profit. It is imperative that the U.S. continues to develop more efficient ways of producing energy and collecting natural resources. It must be a priority.