24 September 2009

73 Days - Working Together to Safeguard the Future: Creating a Global Green Fund

A friend said something the other day that really struck a chord. "Those of us working on climate change are like a bowl of sand, not cemented together."

He was talking about our lack of a unified, global campaign or effort to get things right, to get our carbon emissions to virtually zero as rapidly as humanly possible.

What he said reminded me of a feeling I get sometimes that what we're all doing is throwing sand at a wall and hoping some of it will stick. The analogies are so close, I suspect there's truth in them.

We could dissect the why. One big reason is that our new technologies keep activists inactive, separate and apart. I think I've mentioned before another friend's old line that the powers that be are always "keeping the greenies busy in the bushes." Well, not anymore. Now the greenies are kept busy on their computers, with their "(anti/un) social media. (Look at me blogging and websiting — I'm just as guilty, which means I know of what I speak.)

These new technologies do not unite us on the ground, so we aren't gaining strength from each other and a sense of cohesion and common purpose. Paid environmental and social justice activists (those working for NGOs) who do get together are paid to go to meetings, so they think that by meeting they are doing something. WRONG! (Oh how I wish I could spell the sound of that WRONG buzzer!) Talk is only action when it leads to learning. Talk is not action when it takes the place of action.

Another reason for our lack of a global, unified effort is that nations — and economies (despite the best efforts of globalizers) — have borders, but the atmosphere does not. Since we think of ourselves as belonging to nations, not to the Earth and the biosphere, we really have to struggle to transcend to a global vision of what needs to happen to protect future generations.

So, let me raise Anthony Marr's idea again of a Global Green Fund, into which every country puts 10% of its military budget. This will build up the fund quickly, and then countries won't have to wrangle over who gets how much to develop which renewable technologies when. We can just all work together as a global species.

One other suggestion: let's all, please, set our sights on what the world needs ecologically (zero carbon fast), not on what we think we can get politically, which will still be suicide, though perhaps slightly slower suicide.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?