Solutions Abound, but First …
Solutions abound to respond to the Climate Crisis, but first we need to acknowledge the extent of the problem.
We need to see and accept how dire the climate situation is … I know, people don’t want to read these words, or stop long enough in their busy schedules to take in the severity of the crisis we’re in. Because if we do, we’ll feel compelled to action: for the sake of our children and grandchildren.
By burning gas, oil and coal we’re putting a blanket of CO2 around the earth that warms up the earth too much. These increased temperatures are shifting the climate on Planet Earth. Here are some of the consequences:
* Increased air temperature
* Increased ocean temperature
* Both of these have led to birds, animals, butterflies and other insects (including pests) moving northward. Some species will not be able to migrate fast enough to survive.
* Increased extinction of many species, and at an increasing rate; an article in Science estimates that one in six species may go extinct
* Increased ocean acidity, leading to die off of coral reefs and fish; especially problematic is the die off of phytoplankton and zooplankton, the tiny plants and animals that form the base of the marine food chain
* Increased severe weather events, including hurricanes and typhoons
* Increased droughts, wildfires, and flooding, decreasing crop yields
* Increased political unrest around the world, especially in countries who are already poor and are having difficulty feeding their populations
* Increased humanitarian needs around the world, including a new category of climate refugees
* Decreased amount of fresh water available, due to melting of glaciers that supply fresh water
* Sea level rise, affecting coastal cities around the world, especially NYC and Miami in the US.
Why is there not a national emergency declared
over this significant threat to the very survival of the planet
as we know it?
Lack of media attention is one huge reason.
MONEY is the other big reason – we’ll discuss that below!
The Ed Show on msnbc has been running a story on the climate crisis every day this week. If you missed any of it, you can find the stories here.
There are a tremendous number of solutions! Countries around the world, Europe especially, are already involved in implementing solutions. In fact, many countries are switching to renewables at a blistering pace!
* Solar: Germany led the world in the number of roof top solar installations beginning in 2005, a position it still held at the beginning of 2014, with 1.4 million rooftop units installed. Australia has gone from 8,000 rooftop solar systems in 2007 to over 1 million today. China is also going full-speed ahead on solar and is positioned to soon lead the world in the amount of energy produced from the sun.
* Wind: Denmark supplied 62% of its energy needs in January 2014 with wind, up from 34% in 2013. Portugal and Spain got over 20% of their electricity from wind in 2013.
* In the state of South Australia, on September 30, 2014, power generated from wind and solar exceeded the state’s electricity demand!
The U.S. lags behind most of the world, but as prices drop, installations are increasing. 600,000 rooftop units had been installed as of late 2014.
* I’m excited to be putting solar panels on my roof!
* Plus the price of solar panels has decreased by 2/3 in recent years!
Lester Brown in his new book, The Great Transition, Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy, states this:
"The sunlight striking the earth’s surface in just one hour delivers enough energy
to power the world economy for one year."
Why then are we still focusing on fossil fuels for our energy?
One reason for our focus on fossil fuel and the lack of mainstream media attention on climate change is that a core group of very wealthy people benefits from the status quo. They are making decisions to go for short-term profits rather than the long-term security and safety of their children and grandchildren and even the earth.
Therefore the most significant impact we can have is
to get a fee on carbon.
So that those who put CO2 into the atmosphere pay for it.
The good news is that there are bipartisan efforts in Congress working on this!!
I just joined The Citizens Climate Lobby, a bipartisan organization focused on getting a law passed to put an escalating fee on carbon. They lobby members of Congress to let them know what their constituents want. The latest polling shows public opinion supports the government doing something about climate!!
Support this organization or any other organization fighting to place a fee on carbon. Or better yet, join CCL and attend the Annual Conference in Washington, DC, June 22-24. I’m going and would be thrilled to see you there!!. Don’t worry they train us before we go to lobby the members of Congress! And they send experienced members in with us newbies!
So what significant actions can you take?
* Talk about Climate Change!
o With your neighbors, family, church, friends, and other groups you participate in. It’s the biggest issue facing our country and the world, and your children and grandchildren. Nothing will make more of a difference in their lives than you taking action to promote the solutions!
o As an awakened public we want to put pressure on the White House to sign a binding agreement in Paris in December, as Pope Frances wants to do.
* Support a fee on carbon.
* Educate yourself on all the issues around the Climate Crisis. A great place to start is with the book, This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein.
* Do what you can to lower your carbon footprint.
* Listen to my presentation on Yoga & the Climate Crisis, given in Austin, TX, in February 2015.
So… here we are! In the biggest crisis ever to face the earth and significant numbers of people are still asleep! With deep compassion, talk to everyone… help them wake up to the situation so we can come together in collective action before we create more burdens for our children and grandchildren.
Individually we are not strong enough! Individually we cannot change enough to make the needed impact. We need to exert our collective will on our legislators; we need policy changes. We need to put pressure on our legislators and the White House to sign a binding agreement at the Paris Climate Talks this coming December.
In the words of Drew Dellinger, who says it so eloquently:
"It’s 3:23 in the morning
and I’m awake
because my great great grandchildren
won’t let me sleep
my great great grandchildren
ask me in dreams,
what did you do while the planet was plundered?
what did you do when the earth was unraveling?
surely you did something
when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?
did you fill the streets with protest
when democracy was stolen?
what did you do
Excerpt from Hieroglyphic Stairway, a poem by Drew Dellinger
Re-printed with permission.