>> Tuesday, January 6, 2009
This post is my submission for the Green Moms Blog Carnival. The topic is global warming. Check out the musings of all the great Green Moms on January 12 at the Not Quite Crunchy Parent. And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It’s part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it."
A month or so ago, I watched President-Elect Barack Obama on 60 minutes soon after his election. The interviewer asked him if changes in energy policy are less important now that gas prices have dropped so much. Obama replied that energy is more important and when pressed for an explanation, he responded:
"Well, because this has been our pattern. We go from shock to trance. You know, oil prices go up, gas prices at the pump go up, everybody goes into a flurry of activity. And then the prices go back down and suddenly we act like it’s not important, and we start, you know filling up our SUVs again. I mentioned awhile back that I listened to Alisa Gravitz, the Executive Director of Co-op America, speak at the DC Green Festival about her organization's proposed 12-steps to curb the climate crisis. The premise of her speech was that we have ten years to take extreme action to stop increasing carbon emissions, by 2050 we have to start moving in reverse, and by the turn of the century, we need to be producing zero carbon emissions. She repeated many times during the speech, "We can do this. We can."
So if “Now is the time to break it” and “We can do this. We can!”, then why does it seem like so few people care? Why am I still wondering what to say to others about environmentalism without offending them? Why are other environmentalists still feeling embarrassed about their “unusual” actions? Why was “green” voted the most annoying word of 2008?
I think that people would be willing to sacrifice to counteract climate change if they felt like there was a real eminent crisis, but the American public is still getting mixed messages from scientists and the media.
I feel like we need one of those emergency weather warnings:
"blaring annoying ear-piercing sound"
“We interrupt your regularly scheduled program to bring you this message from the National Weather Service. If we don't all start taking climate change seriously RIGHT NOW we will all be in for some seriously bad weather!”
The twelve steps outlined in Alisa Gravitz' speech were:
You may notice that few things on this list are actions an individual can take. Most of the steps are wide-scale changes that are going to require mass support and policy change.
Environmentalist writer and activist Bill McKibbin also gave a speech about climate change at the DC Green Festival, and at the end of his speech he says something to the effect of: "I was asked what the three most important things are a person could do for the planet, and my answer was, 'Organize, organize, organize.'"
If we are going to curb climate change, we have to organize. We have to stop being afraid of what others think, and we have to act now.
Now is the time. We can do this. We can.
You can listen to Alisa Gravitz' and Bill McKibben's speeches at http://www.greenfestivals.org/radio/.
I also recommend this video about the effects of climate change on island nations, specifically Kiribati where a friend of mine served in the Peace Corps.
And, as a consequence, we never make any progress. It’s part of the addiction, all right. That has to be broken. Now is the time to break it."