Earth Day: Spend some time thinking about how to MAXIMIZE your impact

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.

Take action:

Citizens Climate Lobby

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.


6 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Technology is the answer

    There is a summit going on in Rio as we speak. One of the precepts of the summit is a move towards a form of “global governance”. The citizens climate lobby wants to move to a carbon tax, only the wealthy will afford energy. The only way the planet will be saved is by using advanced technology. alternate sources of energy. new energy efficient and smart energy devices. New quantum computers to manage the planet’s resource’s. Advanced nano materials for new construction, preserving our agriculture and our fishing industries. Most importantly preserving our sovereignty, because as soon as we place control of our destiny in the control of some International body we lose control of our destiny. We lose our rights and we lose our republic. I have a very different view of the approach to climate change. If you want to get on board the UN protocol’s, you have not given serious thought to what the reality of the situation is. It is a movement …not a solution. Since the early 1990′s when they started the protocol’s what have they solved?

    • Technology is also the problem

      Technology will help a great deal in a variety of energy production and energy efficiency areas (solar panels to smart strips) but technology is also a great source of the problem.

      Huge screen televisions suck tremendous amounts of energy. Game systems do the same. The ubiquitous DVR is on 24/7/365 and using large quantities of power. All that is only in the family room.

      Technology is, if you’ll allow the phrase, a double-edged sword. It provides great opportunity to help as well as great opportunity to make the situation far worse.

  2. human day

    Earth Day is not really about Earth. It’s about whether people can survive and thrive on Earth.

    I’ve always thought that “Earth Day” was a lousy framing from the get-go (even before I knew what “framing” was ;) ). It plays right into right-wing narratives such as valuing a particular species of fish (or pick your favorite endangered species) over the needs of humans. The earth will survive in one form or another, with or without humans, until the sun decides to gobble it up. Whether or not it will allow us to remain here is indeed the issue.

    I stumbled across a Native American saying last week which I somehow never heard before. It takes a few different forms, but the one I read was: “We do not inherit the earth from our parents. We borrow it from our children.” I think that does a better job of tying environmental and human needs together than “Earth Day”.

    • Borrowing from the children

      I’d seen that quote before too, but directly attributed to Chief Seattle.

      • An Often Mis-Attributed Quote

        In fact, Chief Seattle’s famous 1854 speech on this topic (“including “how can you buy or sell the sky?” and which Al Gore quoted in Earth in the Balance) was written by a screenwriter in 1971. It’s a bit of a hoax:

        This exact “borrow it from our children” quotation is sometimes cited as an “old Indian proverb” but more often attributed to Antoine de Saint Exupery who authored The Little Prince.

        • .

          Interesting. But I note that the “borrow it from the children” line does not appear in that speech as quoted on Snopes.

          So it may be Seattle on some other occasion, or it may be one of those famous Internet misattributions… As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Don’t believe every quote you read on the Internet.”

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