Thanks to Kate for her post on how to personally take action to minimize your carbon footprint. All of these are great suggestions; apparently eating something other than meat is one of the biggest ways to decrease your personal footprint.
But you know what? That alone isn’t going to do it. As I beat this drum constantly here and on our Twitter feed, we need to prioritize global warming as an issue now, and be in our elected leaders’ faces all the time about it. If we don’t do that, we’re fiddling while we burn.
We are adding far too many greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, which our planet cannot take. We need to drastically and quickly reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) level below 350 parts-per-million in our atmosphere. Research demonstrates that we’ve been at this level for about the last 200 years; over the last 30,000 years or so it’s been 275. We’re now at 392. Too high = too hot. The last time levels were this high was some 15-20 million years ago.
On the right, cowed by Fox News’ steady drumbeat of climate denialism, politicians have observed there’s no electoral advantage in being concerned about climate — in fact, the more stridently ignorant, the better for them.
This is a shame, but in a way, you can’t really blame the pols; that’s how the game is set up. If the danger is greater on the right flank than from the left, you’ll cover the right. This is why Scott Brown feels he can attack Elizabeth Warren as an “energy elitist” for opposing the XL pipeline. I’m skeptical of whether that’s an effective line, but it’s telling that he’s not afraid to make it. He does not bother to defend his credentials on preventing global climate disaster, because no one’s asking him about it.
Think about that: Apparently, the prospect of coastal flooding, threatened fisheries, drought, food shortages and higher prices— the local implications and national security implications thereof — doesn’t cause any worry whatsoever to a sitting Senator from one of the most liberal and coastal states in the country.
Apparently the public at large is not inconveniencing him about it. Apparently he is not afraid of an army of pitchfork-wielding citizens pouring into the streets to demand his resignation — or even merely to phone-bank for his opponent.
My point: Kate’s post notwithstanding, this issue is not about personal virtue. It’s about bringing our power to prevent an ongoing series of catastrophes — to prevent massive death and destruction before it happens.
I do not care how that sounds, because it is real; it is the truth as clearly as I can see it. And I will say it until there is sufficient action to ensure a climate that supports growing sufficient food for our needs. Yes, it damn well is about the children — to hell with anyone so shallow as to disparage that simple acknowledgment. This ain’t South Park; this is real.
Earth Day is not really about Earth. It’s about whether people can survive and thrive on Earth.
Show up to an event, and tell Elizabeth Warren that this is a priority to you — a life and death issue.
Do the same at a Scott Brown event — if he ever deigns to grant us a public viewing.
Tell the media. Tell your friends. Join boycotts (this one was successful). Get pissed off. Make friends and allies. Tweet. Book your Face. Tell the politicians and the people supposedly in power: “Over My Dead Body.”
Treat it like everything that matters depends upon it.