Our backs are pushed to the wall, and it’s not looking good for the “Home Team”!
We are faced with unprecedented converging crises: climate change including the Arctic melting at an unprecedented rate, which is projected to be ice free this summer or next; our ability to produce enough food for a global population that keeps growing; decreasing supplies of cheap oil which are expected to drive prices up; our unsustainable industrial agriculture with it’s heavy use of fossil fuel-based pesticides, fertilizers and farm equipment – note: it takes the equivalent of 10 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of food; loss of biodiversity including pollinators upon which agriculture depends; and sea level rise, all against the backdrop of a surreal reality created by repeated lies at the highest levels.
It’s important not to go numb or distract ourselves with easy and useless activities. It’s also important to acknowledge our deep grief over what’s happening. Everyone awake to the truth of our current reality is going through a grieving process of some kind. It’s a process and you can get through it. Seek out your “tribe” of similarly awake and awakening folks. Remember you are not alone.
Now is the time to reach deep inside ourselves and bring forth our heroic self in order to rise to the challenge of this historic moment.
For this two kinds of courage are needed:
- Courage to confront the truth: unless we change, we are headed toward an unlivable planet in 10-15 years
- Courage to take action on this truth
WHERE WE’RE HEADED
For decades scientists have been warning us that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. James Hansen, then head of Goddard Center at NASA, testified to Congress in 1988 about the dangers of climate change. We have held multiple international conferences on it, numerous IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) reports with dire warnings, and still very little action has been taken to reduce emissions.
Last fall 15,000 scientists signed a “Second Notice” Warning about Climate Change, stating that we are on a collision course with the natural world, and that “soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory”.
Climate change is linked to droughts, wild fires, crop failures, depleted ocean fish stocks, and extreme weather events, costing the U.S. billions of dollars just last year alone. We now know that our climate has become destabilized and the jet stream has been weakened. This resulted in last winter’s spilling of cold air from the Arctic that traveled all the way down to Florida.
This is a stunning number as you can see in the graph! The recommended maximum is 350 ppm.
One of the big problems is that carbon dioxide stays in the atmosphere for 50-300 years, with 20 percent lasting thousands of years. Based on all this, we are at risk of going over the agreed upon 2C (C = Celsius) degree limit set by the Paris Climate Accord. The latest research shows that we may reach that limit in 10 to 15 years, much sooner than projected in previous reports. The 2C degree limit is the line between dangerous and very dangerous climate change.
Another perspective on the limit we are approaching is to look at our carbon budget, the amount of carbon we can put into the atmosphere and still have a reasonable chance of staying under the 2C degree limit. According to Kevin Anderson of the Tyndall Institute in the UK our carbon budget runs out in the mid 2030’s.
You can see from the graph above that the longer we wait to begin reducing our emissions, the shorter the amount of time left to stay within our carbon budget, and the steeper the cuts have to be.
Right now renewable energy is increasing exponentially which is great news, but it’s also important to realize that ALL manufacturing plants that make solar panels, wind turbines and electric cars use fossil fuel. Not to mention the hundreds of items that are part of our daily lives that are made from fossil fuel, which includes pharmaceuticals, concrete and asphalt, and plastics that are in practically everything: food packaging, soap and make-up containers, plastic bags and plastic bottles, to name some of the obvious ones.
Our backs are pressed to the wall!
It’s time for thoughtful, caring people to awaken to the challenges ahead, and come to terms with the potentially devastating impacts of climate change before it’s too late.
and the courage to act on it.
Read the links in this article.
Subscribe to a newsletter at EcoWatch, Climate News Network, The Guardian/Environment or Truthout Climate Disruption Dispatches so you receive climate information from an independent source, not an organization dependent on corporate advertising that promotes the status quo.
Watch videos and documentaries on climate change and our multiple crises. There are hundreds of them! See suggestions here.
Find people you can talk to about what’s happening in our country and our world; find your “tribe” who are similarly awake or in the process of awakening to the truth of the multiple crises we’re facing.
Discuss climate change and related topics often; help others understand and come to terms with what’s happening. Help shift our culture to one of urgency about addressing climate change and moving to a life-affirming culture.
Start a book club with a climate focus. Suggestions include: This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein or any of her other books, and/or Climate Disruption by Paul Gilding.
Follow what’s happening in the courts about climate, e.g., the case of the kids suing the government over not providing a livable planet for their future and the lawsuits claiming that Nature has rights.
Participate in bringing forth the world you want to live in and the world you want for your kids! Not to mention your grandkids… but notice the urgency here … we are talking about effects on your kids!
As grim as these statistics are, change is already happening! Paul Hawken shares that there are hundreds of thousands of organizations and millions of people all across the world already involved in solutions to our many crises, mostly running under the radar. This time will be remembered as the Great Unraveling or the Great Turning…. it’s up to us. We can be part of this great movement!
This is an unprecedented shift, as David Korten says in his book, The Great Turning: from Empire to Earth Community.
We can participate in the Great Transition to a life-sustaining culture! This is a once-in-an-epoch opportunity!
Do your part… don’t sit this one out… you want to be able to tell your grandkids what you did to help to help bring our country back from the brink of disaster and what it was like “back in the day!”
Sit down with your family and discuss what you want to do! Involve your whole family, especially the kids, in your projects.
Ideas: reduce your use of plastic, especially single use plastic bottles; figure out how to simplify your life and use less energy by flying less, driving less, biking and walking more; eat less meat and dairy; recycle more actively until your recycling each week is bigger than your trash; plant a garden; consider solar panels on your roof or back yard… prices have come down over 70% in recent years, and there are federal write off’s, plus the monthly savings on your energy bills are tremendous! Batteries are now available so it would be possible to go off grid. Thousands of Germans have already done that!
Divest from fossil fuel.
Fight fracking in your community. Fight all forms of fossil fuel infrastructure, like pipelines and new ports, that locks us in to fossil fuels for decades.
Put your values on the line and demonstrate in local issues. Make it a family affair and invite your neighbors to join you.
Vote for folks who pledge to support policies to protect the earth.
Vote for people who take no money from the fossil fuel industry. Excitingly, this is a growing movement!
Call your representatives … often … even to the point of being a nuisance! Attend town hall meetings and speak up!
This is part of our civic duty and these are necessary actions in order to have a thriving democracy, rather than a system of governance characterized by legalized corruption that works only for the 1% …
Get enough rest, exercise, drink pure water, and eat healthy organic food (organic farming actually sequesters carbon in the soil, so it acts as a “sink” to reduce carbon, compared to industrial farming that increases the amount of carbon in the atmosphere; not to mention avoiding all those pesticides!).
Spend time with family and friends. Spend time in Nature, find the beauty everywhere, laugh, sing, dance, and savor life…