Global Day of Climate Action: October 24 350.org

Tomorrow, October 24, is a global day of action around climate change, organized by the folks at 350.org.  Why 350?  That’s the parts per million of carbon that scientists think is the ‘safe’ level that will keep the planet at least somewhat recognizable as the one we’ve grown to know and depend on for our lives.  What are we at currently?  Something like 390, and climbing!  So time is short.  With a new round of global negotiations scheduled for Copenhagen in early December, tomorrow’s actions will help build popular pressure on all those politicians to do something real. 

We still have a chance to turn the looming disaster into a chance for transformation and balance.  We can still build a world that offers abundance, hope, lives of beauty and health and freedom for those who come after us.

But not for much longer.  The window is closing.  So, wiggle those fingers, press those keys and go to 350.org to find an action near you.  Then get out of your armchairs, off the intenet, and into the streets!

Climate change is often framed as your personal problem—you should drive less, consume less, change your lightbulbs.  Yeah, you should—all those things are important.  But nothing we do individually will solve the problem.  We need to work together, to influence policy, not just perfect our own personal eco-karma. 

When we take action, we need to know what we want, not just what we don’t want.  Confronting climate change can drive people into  into despair and apathy.  Never just say ‘no’ without also saying ‘yes’—because solutions are out there.  We have the means we need to solve the problems, and heal  other major wounds in the process.  We just need to do it.

Michael Moore has a great list of things to do in his recent article—focused around the financial crisis but also relevant to Climate Change:

<http://www.michaelmoore.com/>

Call the President every day:  202-456-1414

Call your Congressperson:  202 224 3121

Call your Senators: 202 224 3121 

Check this website to contact Congress online:

http://www.visi.com/juan/congress/

What do you tell them?  Below is my gift to you—a simple list of climate change do’s and don’t’s—policies we should push for, and against.  Feel free to pass it on, reproduce it, make it into flyers, add to it—whatever!   If you want more, go to www.earthactivisttraining.org, and click on Resources/Climate Change to download our Climate Change Primer—a good introduction to the terms, the issues, and the spectrum of solutions.

Check back here  after Saturday and I’ll tell you how my day went! 

Climate Change Policies to Push For: (and Against!)

Say ‘No’ To:

No coal—NASA climate scientist James Hansen says coal is 85% of climate change.  No new coal plants, no more mountain-top removal–an environmental disaster even if climate change didn’t exist.  Phase out existing coal plants.

No oil—by 2050, we must replace fossil fuels as the basis of our energy system.  The U.S. needs to reduce our emissions by 90%.

No forest and wilderness destruction—We need a global ban on the cutting of old growth, the destruction of rain forests, clearcuts and destructive forestry.   Trees sequester carbon and turn it into wood—the older and bigger they are, the more effectively they pull carbon out of the atmosphere.  New energy projects should not be located in wilderness areas.

No nukes—Nuclear power is not a solution.  We still have nowhere to put the wastes, and the dangers of low-level radiation, accidents, and deliberate attacks are too great to risk.  We need to reduce emissions now—and nukes take decades to build safely and require huge amounts of carbon emissions in their construction—concrete has an enormously high carbon footprint.

No global energy casino!   Cap and trade, offsets, and all the various money shuffling schemes are not solutions.  They are proposed as incentives to get companies to limit emissions—but if they create a global carbon market that enriches speculators, they will do more harm than good.

No terraforming!  Nix to giant, grandiose, unproven  schemes—giant sunshades,  chemical seeding of the oceans, mirrors in space, etc.

No to consumerism—our value is determined by who we are, not what we acquire.  If we need stuff, let it be longer lasting, better quality, reparable, reusable, recyclable.

Say ‘Yes’ To:

Conservation and energy efficiency:   If the U.S. had continued to conserve energy as we did in the 1970s, we’d be energy independent today!  Reducing demand is always the biggest bang for the buck—as it requires no new investment of emissions or materials.

Safe and Renewable Energy Sources:  Passive and active solar, solar thermal, offshore and onshore wind, microhydro and so many more truly renewable forms of energy production already exist.  Make them affordable, widely available, invest in their improvement and production.  Invest in an upgraded, decentralized grid that can bring them online.

Research and Investment to improve existing technologies and develop new ones, to improve energy storage and delivery systems.

Social justice:  Spend the green bucks to create jobs and offer training to those who have the least resources–inner city youth, workers displaced from old technologies, people from indigenous communities and poor rural areas.  Get polluting industries and utilities out of low-income communities.

Localization:  Grow our food and make our products close to where we need them.  Require enterprises and businesses to be responsible and accountable to local communities.

Global friendships and support systems based on solidarity, not charity.  The developed countries need to help the less-developed leapfrog over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and jump directly into the renewable energy systems of the twenty-first century.

The Voices of Indigenous People:  Indigenous communities who maintain traditional cultures and ways of life have wisdom to teach us as we strive to regain balance, and many are the most affected already by climate change.  They need to be part of any negotiations and climate change agreements.

The Voices of Women:  Women are often most affected by drought, poverty, hunger, and other impacts of climate change.  Women must also be part of negotiations and forming agreements.

Building Soil:  Excess carbon in the atmosphere comes not just from fossil fuels but also from erosion and soil loss.  Restoring soil to health sequesters carbon  in very stable forms, as the humus which creates soil fertility.  Compost, mulch, no-till and low-till forms of agriculture and rotational grazing can build soil quickly, and help reduce desertification, famine,  and ecosystem destruction.

Safeguarding Water:  Climate change is likely to produce immense droughts and leave billions of people without access to water.  Water is a human rights issue, and must be a public trust—not a source of private profit.  All means to conserve, protect, recycle, and cleanse water should be encouraged.

Education and training:  Build ecological literacy at every level, from schoolyard gardens to adult retraining programs.

Community:  We can derive pleasure and sense of worth not from how much we own but from our relationships to one another.  We can trade profit and pollution for time to spend with friends and family, on cultivating spirit, fun and creativity, on contributing our gifts to community and serving as active agents of democracy. 

Action:  Working together, we can stop the destruction and build the solutions.

This entry was posted in climate change, political activism. Bookmark the permalink. Comments are closed, but you can leave a trackback: Trackback URL.

5 Comments

  1. Posted October 24, 2009 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    We have been raising awareness of the role of building soil carbon from a climate change perspective – but as you will see when you look through the presentation the real outcome of changing management is three-fold – healthy environment, healthy financials, and healthy society. And all this in agreement with the great principles you espouse in your article.

    There are 2 critical aspects to addressing global warming and reversing desertification.

    1 – reduce future emissions – for this TECHNOLOGY is absolutely essential.

    2 – absorb the current excess legacy loadings already in circulation – for this BIOLOGY is absolutely essential.

    The simple truth is that probably half of the current problem has been directly caused by inappropriate human management of our land. Changing this management can have an immediate impact as the presentation mentioned below shows.

    Please take a few minutes and look a little more into the massive and positive impact changed grazing management could have. Professor Tim Flannery has stated that sequestering carbon into the soils of our grazing lands is one of the best means we have available to us for dealing with climate change.

    There is growing concern for significant action to avoid catastrophic climate change. Please take a few minutes and look through the presentation on Soil Carbon at http://www.soilcarbon.com.au

    Not enough people are yet aware of Soil Carbon and the critical role it can play in helping to reverse the impacts of global warming.

    Did you know that just a 1% change in soil organic matter across just one-quarter of the World’s land area could sequester 300 billion tonnes of physical CO2?

    Recent Australian studies have shown that a 1% change can occur within a few years – and in fact up to 4% changes were measured in some areas. The management changes required to achieve these increases are very readily implemented. I hope you find the presentation of interest.

    • Posted October 24, 2009 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Tony, for elaborating on the soil carbon connection. I’ll look forward to checking those links. I’ve been very aware of this issue since I took a course with Darren Dougherty a couple of years ago, and heard a great presentation by Abe Collins who heads a group called Carbon Farmers of America. They’ve been working with farmers to measure the sequestration potential and to find best practices. A couple of other references are the Soil Carbon Institute headed up by Doctor Rattan Lal at the University of Ohio. John Schendel, an environmental chemist, took one of our Earth Activist Trainings and wrote a paper that is also up on our Earth Activist Website under Climate Change resources. The Holistic Management grazing regimes that Alan Savory developed are hugely promising for sequestering carbon on a large scale–and there’s no ecological downside–it’s the way to bring back desertified land to health, which brings back prosperity, more functional water cycles, better nutrition, biodiversity. The soils of the world are carbon-hungry, and restoring that balance can help us restore the climate balance as well. And when people learn about this, they get hopeful! Okay, got to get to bed now! Thanks and good night!

  2. Para
    Posted October 24, 2009 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Carbon Dioxide is not a pollutant and the planet is not getting warmer.

    • Posted October 24, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      You know, all my old teachers in high school would say,
      “Back up your statement.” From credible, scientific sources, not just any old thing you read on the internet, nor from studies funding by the oil and coal industries. Unfortunately, a lot of people are still in this level of denial. But I do agree with one thing you say, in permaculture we say “Pollution is an unused resource.” Carbon dioxide is not a toxin–it’s a vital part of our life cycle on the planet. The reason we have too much of it is because A. We’re using up vast amounts of carbon that Gaia sequestered hundreds of millions of years ago and B. Because we’ve damaged the ecosystem processes that would let that carbon become a soil bullding resource.

      One more thing–all the things we need to do to stem climate change are things we ought to do anyway, ways of ending destructive practices and creating more justice, more health, more true abundance for everyone. What do we have to sacrifice? Mostly, big profit margins for a very few of the wealthy and powerful–and some convenience for ourselves.

      • Posted October 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Or to put it another way, A weed is only a plant in the wrong place.

One Trackback

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by permiedotnet and Earth UnSummit 2012, Global Health UMASS . Global Health UMASS said: @EarthSummit2012 #Stawhawk on Oct 24 #350 Global Day of Climate Action http://bit.ly/350Starhawk Thx @permiedotnet #permaculture [...]