DDT use has been markedly decreased after we learned about all the damage it causes. Likewise, CFC’s are now only minimally used in special situations, after we learned that they were negatively affecting the ozone layer. The Hudson River clean-up by Pete Seeger and others has markedly improved the health of this river. Polio has been virtually eliminated thanks to vaccines.
Are you interested in learning more about these and other successes? And passing on this information to help others learn from our past successes?
The News Including Successes
Are you interested in learning about and passing on stories of successes, large and small? Repeatedly I hear people tell me that almost the only news they read is bad. While we need to not ignore the tough issues, I also think that so many good things are happening, but usually they are not broadcast widely. How can we change that?
Many people for many different reasons find this enormous issue challenging to even begin to grasp. Are you interested in helping? What are good resources for all of us in this arena? One resource is the book, Coming Back to Life by Joanna Macy, especially pp. 22-31.
There are some very good (and some less good) Carbon Footprint Calculators. This is an area that it would be wise for each of us to look at in an ongoing way and continually try to lessen our footprints.
shrinkthatfootprint.com is our current favorite.
http://www.climatecare.org/climate/low-carbon-living/ has a number of good, practical ideas.
As we do so, it’s important to find the joy in this practice. A profound resource for this is Coming Back To Life by Joanna Macy. Another resource for this is Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin, second edition.
Do you have other resources to suggest? Do you want to learn more and share with others? Do you want to start a neighborhood group to learn more about this and support each other in making important changes? Or…?
Our ways of eating have enormous impact on the environment. Fortunately, it is easy to learn how to create utterly delicious meals that have a low carbon footprint. This is a fertile area for learning and sharing. More information at shrinkthatfootprint.com.
We need rediscover the old stories and find new stories to tell each other that ultimately bring us joy as we live on this minuscule planet in ways that are not damaging to us and many other species. See the books by Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams in the books link for newer, more sustainable and accurate myths. Also, for inspiration you might want to learn about the stellar storytelling duo, Nancy Wang and Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo and listen to “Trouble Talk,” a green story over a thousand years old (www.ethnohtec.org/). Protecting our earth is not a new phenomenon. It just needs us now more than ever.
Anyone interested in interviewing people who are working on climate change issues in good ways? Perhaps put these interviews on a website and/or publish them somewhere. Or do you have stories or myths to tell in different setting that touch on these issues?
A group of neighbors in Portland OR are beginning to plan a forum to discuss Climate Change and possible solutions on individual, local, regional and larger levels. This gathering will include a panel discussion and plenty of opportunity for neighbors to identify areas of action that appeal to them and potentially find others to work with. The aim for the future will be to increase a sense of community as people work together, increase resilience, and decrease fossil fuel use in many different ways from individual to large infrastructure, as well as increase renewable energy use.
The Nawtsamaat Alliance
The Nawt-sa-maat Alliance is an empowered coalition of Coast Salish Indigenous Peoples, environmental, interfaith, and youth activists, and impassioned community members who love the land and waters of the Salish Sea and call it home.
Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest and ranging from Washington State to British Columbia, the Alliance was created to heighten awareness of the increased risks and threats to our beautiful region by a fossil fuel industry that continues to exploit and destroy it. The Alliance mobilizes international, cross-cultural, and co-creative joint action to block fossil fuel projects such as the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion in British Columbia, as well as oil trains, coal trains, oil tankers, ports and other pipelines.
The Nawtsamaat Alliance is calling for unprecedented unified action to protect and restore the Salish Sea and the communities surrounding it.
Socially Responsible Investing
If you are fortunate enough to have any extra money to invest, are you considering carbon footprints of companies you are investing in? Are they leading to much more CO2 and methane release into the atmosphere? Do you need to divest from all fossil fuel corporations? If many of us do so, the odds go up that the fossil fuel folks will much more seriously move toward products that are much better for the earth, including all of us. Can you educate others?
Do you have a strong interest in and connection to orcas? Lichen? Trees? Forests? Deer? Native plants to your area? Butterflies? Bees? Blueberries? Mosses? Fungi? Frogs? Cacti? Birds? Or…? Are you interested in learning about them more and helping protect their environments?
Looking At the Whole Picture
We need more people looking our entire planet, including our atmosphere and our oceans. It would be helpful if they come from many different groups, so there are many perspectives.
Are you aware of good websites that address climate change issues? How can we best disseminate that information? For starters see the section on Other Pertinent Websites.
Some elders have more available time. If you do, is there something that interests you in this arena? Below is information I received about one possible group (Are there raging granddads out there, too?!)
Another inspiring group taking action is the Raging Grannies, of which there are groups nationwide. The Seattle group is very active and recently protested the oil trains moving through Western WA. see: http://q13fox.com/2014/10/30/demonstrators-rally-to-protest-oil-trains-moving-through-area/
Are you a politician? If so, as you may know, you have an enormous opportunity to influence these issues for the better. What can those of us who care about climate change do to help support you better?
Are you interested in following legislative issues? Could you keep the rest of us informed about how best to easily send emails? Could you craft sample letters? Could you help us learn what are the most effective ways to communicate with politicians these days?
Carbon Taxes, Carbon Offsets, Cap and Trade, and Other Political Responses
Are you interested in learning about any of these possible approaches? Could you educate others? Are there any practical things to do? If you’re interested, Climate Solutions is working in these areas in OR and WA.
Big Corporations That Are Big Polluters
How can we influence these corporations? How can we help them shift to looking at the larger picture? They, too, are and will be affected by climate change. What if they moved their enormous financial powers to renewable resources? Some are beginning to do so. Others are still more like the tobacco companies were/are.
The Bill of Rights – the 1st ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution – protects basic rights of persons. These rights include freedom of speech and assembly (gathering together) protected by the 1st Amendment, and many others. In a 2010 case known as Citizens United v. Federal Communication Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that corporations are considered persons protected by the constitution. According to the court, limiting corporate political contributions violates corporations’ constitutional free speech rights. Unlimited corporate contributions support the climate change-deniers and pollute discussion of what to do about climate change. Are you interested in supporting a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United? Or in changing the laws that create corporations to limit what they can do? (information courtesy of Debbie Maranville, Professor of Law, Director, Clinical Law Program, University of Washington School of Law)
1% of the population are psychopaths. These are people who lack empathy, conscience and guilt. Consider implications of this carefully. Politicians and higher executives (including in fossil fuel corporations) appear to have a higher percentage of psychopaths in their groups (document. find a more exact percentage if possible). Until we learn better how to deal with this issue, I suspect it will remain more difficult to fully deal with Climate Change. It seems to me that having very clear laws to protect our earth would be especially helpful in these instances, since we can’t count on psychopaths acting in good conscience. They need an external and clear conscience. We all need to learn more about this group. Are you interested in helping us do so?
Two books on the subject are Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Robert D. Hare and The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson.
Also, if you are reading this and wonder if you might be a psychopath, take note and remember that this issue affects every one of us, including you. If you are “benefiting” from short-term wealth gained from polluting sources, you will be causing major health and other problems for yourself and others. Please look at the big picture of the entire earth and put your money to better uses.
If you are an entrepreneur, what role could you play in terms of climate change issues? You might want to look into becoming a B Corp.
There are many ecumenical groups and individual wisdom traditions working on these issues. What all are they? Are you interested in compiling a list? Or working with one of these groups? Or…?
Joanna Macy’s new book, Coming Back to Life, is a wonderful way to learn more about many of these groups, as well as ways of being more congruent with a sustainable approach to life on this earth.
Whatever your perspectives on this world, we would be likely to improve our situation, if as many as possible of us bring a mindful approach to climate change issues. Does this speak to you?
If your gifts fall within this broad area, are there any ways in which you could sometimes use them to help bring your truths, joy, beauty, empathy or…?
I am starting to envision a round button and/or pin showing our earth and with TEAM EARTH printed on it. These could be sold for a nominal amount with part going to a Climate Change organization and part to the artist. It could help remind us daily and also help connect us. Any artists out there interested??
Poets, especially, keep writing. You help sustain us!
We will all likely need to develop our skills in improvisation in future decades. Can you bring anything to this area?
We need it now and in the future. Consider forming small or larger groups to help those around us, including those who have fewer resources. For example Growing Gardens in Portland OR supports low-income folks with resources and education they need to grow their own food (growing-gardens.org). This will likely become increasingly important in the future. Would you like t help in this area?
Yeah! And we need this, too! Can you help us remember to chuckle, giggle and guffaw?!
What other areas can you think of? Please let me know.