I don’t know what you were doing Tuesday, Nov 5th, 2019. I don’t recall myself. However, I will remember that it was the day 11,000 scientists from 153 countries told us we were screwed. It was a dire warning published in BioScience Journal that climate change is going to consume us.
Actually, the most distressing part of the whole business was that it really didn’t get much play. I mean, how much have you heard and read about it. No one seemed all that upset! Just another headline. Not one person mentioned it to me. Ho Hum – another day in paradise.
Well folks, if our grandchildren die of climate related factors we know who to blame. On the other hand, for those of you who think this is an important story, the scientists were clear about what has to be done, NOW! While these six are not new they are worth another look.
"1. Replace fossil fuels with cleaner sources of energy and pursue negative emissions through carbon extraction and capture technologies.
2. Reduce emissions of pollutants like methane, soot, and hydrofluorocarbons.
3. Protect and restore Earth's coral reefs, forests, savannas, wetlands, and other ecosystems that help store carbon.
4. Reduce consumption of meat and other animal products in favor of more plant-based foods.
5. Shift economic goals from GDP growth toward sustainability and prioritize reducing inequality.
6. Lower fertility rates to lessen the impacts of population growth on emissions."
So what is the favor? I mean what can I do about all this overwhelming stuff. They expect little ol’ me to make a difference? You underestimate your yourself. You have to understand where political power comes from. When consumers make choices, business feels it and consumers do it one at a time. By the way, maybe we should stop thinking of ourselves as consumers, for god’s sake. That’s what got us into this problem. What’s the alternative? That’s a long answer but, for now, we have to make the right choices and let the market figure it out.
Let’s break those five requests down. What are the scientists asking us to do? What’s the favor?
1. Have the right lighting, drive energy efficient vehicles, fly less.
2. Don’t burn our wood fireplaces, turn down the stat, turn off the lights.
3. Plant trees, lobby for wetlands, join environmental organizations.
4. Don’t eat as much meat and diary, support small and local organic farmers.
5. Stop being such a ‘consumer’, reuse, recycle, reinvent.
6. Don’t have kids or at least as many, support family planning, educate your children about environment.
There are at least 10001 things you can do. Do the little things really matter? Damn right they do! There is a binding relationship between turning down the heat and demonstrating at the State Capital. Individuals don’t normally storm the gates of government about climate change and then leave their lights on all over the house.
You start by doing anything. We started by going to bar soup instead of soap in plastic bottles. Then you do something else, and something else, and something else until the light goes on. Believe me, you’ll know when you get there. Soon, all the plastics around you seem to glow and you hear the roar of every pickup truck and the rustle of the plastics bags at Target and the force of water in your sink. You become conscious of the isles of plastic at the grocery store and the pallets of water bottles. You take a longer look at your utility bills. Folks, they aren’t little things. They are the start of something big. This isn’t about doing ‘things’ this is about becoming an environmentalist, someone who cares about the planet.
All of a sudden, climate change is the top political issue in your mind. You understand what needs to be done. Your vote and your pocketbook are the hammer and anvil. The most important is your vote. If you don’t think that can work, just go back and study how prohibition got passed. It was a small determined group, mostly women, that held the reins of power that no politician could thwart. They all buckled in.
The 11,000 scientists are telling us we have to pick up the pace. The alternative is unthinkable.