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Asteroids: a bigger threat than climate change?

This month, hundreds of thousands of students participated in a world-wide “Walkout for Climate Change,” an effort to bring about more action to combat the negative effects humans are having upon the planet.

I honestly commend them for their efforts. That said, the world is facing a far greater and more pressing threat to its survival than “global warming/climate change.” But most on college campuses, in politics, in Hollywood and the mainstream media either don’t know or, worse, don’t care.

That threat? Being a direct hit from an asteroid.

Try not to roll your eyes.

Just this past December, a never-detected smallish surprise asteroid exploded just 15 miles above the earth with 10 times the force of the nuclear bomb detonated over Hiroshima in World War II.

This real and growing danger was just highlighted in a study by Johns Hopkins University titled: “Breaking up is hard to do. Asteroids are stronger, harder to destroy than previously thought.”

Unfortunately, it is also a growing threat most refuse to take seriously. Even Johns Hopkins played it cute by giving their study a less than weighty and urgent title.

While the safety of our environment and planet must never be about ideology, politics and our facts vs. your facts — here we are.

In today’s increasingly toxic political climate, you either buy into the narrative that “humans are destroying the planet,” or you very quickly end up on some group’s enemy list.

No other world-killing disasters need apply.

Do humans contribute to the negative effects of “climate-change?” Absolutely.

Every single person I know — Democrat, Republican, liberal and conservative — is strongly in favor of a cleaner, healthier and more protected planet Earth.

There is zero debate that human pollution makes the planet less healthy. The debate rightfully starts regarding percentages of blame, realistic fixes and the burden of cost for those fixes.

In other words, should the people of the United States — a nation that easily leads the world in reducing CO2 output — cripple its economy and work-force to meet artificial timelines while major polluting nations and regions like China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and much of South America pay little or no price?

In terms of the truly poor and disenfranchised of the world, is there a moral argument to be made to keep fossil fuels? With regard to “green energy” solutions such as wind and solar power, are we even allowed to examine the actual costs, benefits and negative drawbacks?

Humans do indeed pollute our planet, and every cause and possible solution should and must be examined.

However, while those studies take place and the walkouts continue, it is imperative that the world as a whole create and ramp-up a defense against the earth-ending effects of a direct hit from an asteroid, which would kill a region, country or the entire planet in seconds and minutes.

Where are the walkouts for this threat? Why aren’t celebrities in Hollywood, politicians, the mainstream media and professors the world over waving that reddest of warning flags?

There is no debate on this issue. None.

The fact of the matter is that it is purely dumb-luck that we have not been hit. In the last two years, a number of asteroids have flown between the orbits of the moon and the earth. Some were not even detected until after they whizzed past us by an astronomical hair.

The good news in all of this being that we do have the means to defend our planet against an asteroid hit. And, at a fraction of the cost estimates to save our world from “global warming.” All the more reason this project must be undertaken immediately.

As the Johns Hopkins study warned: “It is only a matter of time before these questions go from being academic to defining our response to a major threat.”

The damage humans do to the planet earth must be acknowledged, addressed and rectified. But so too, must the “major threat” highlighted in the Johns Hopkins study.

Tragically, it is much more likely the global warming-climate change threat will continue to exhaust all available funding and attention, leaving the earth and humanity doomed to its inevitable, but preventable, fate.

Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official and consultant on space.

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