13 January 2019

There Are So Many Things We Can Be Doing!

I think I'm just going to make a list today. I haven't offered this sort of thing in a long time, but we attended a meeting the other night where lots of ideas for what a nearby city (and the capital city of my province in Canada) can do about the climate crisis. I'll add in some of my own ideas.

Change now, as philosopher Krishnamurti taught. Picture … dream … envision how the world needs to be: free of war, terrorism, violence, cruelty and slaughter. A world free of fossil fuels, a “golden age” of zero-carbon renewable energy, will be safer, cleaner, kinder, healthier, more equitable, and more peaceful. It’s a beautiful vision, isn’t it?

For the sake of the children – of all species – find the strength, the courage and the compassion to truly feel the pain of the climate crisis. Next, lament. And then, get active. Remember that the most vulnerable are being impacted worst and first, but we are all impacted. People around the world are losing their lives or their loved ones, their livelihoods, their food security and water sources, their homes and entire homelands, in extreme weather events caused or exacerbated by climate chaos. We also need to understand this from the perspective of indigenous people, who have nowhere to move to because they are their land.

If you and your family are not already eating a plant-based diet, go vegan now, for the sake of your own health and the health of the planet. It’s the quickest – and most significant – way to lower your greenhouse gas emissions. Further, how can we create peaceful transformation in a world filled with slaughter and cruelty?

The Burning Age is over. Support a carbon fee and any other strategy that will encourage people to switch their investment money to zero-carbon, non-combustion renewable energy. Work towards a combustion-free society by transitioning away from the internal combustion engine.

Call for your government to keep its pledge to end taxpayer subsidies to fossil fuel industries. According to the International Monetary Fund, every year governments around the world give $5.3 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel corporations. Just think how much faster we’ll make the transition to zero-carbon, non-combustion energy when all that money is switched to renewables.

Make a plan for reducing your family’s carbon footprint as rapidly as possible. Invest in the future by ensuring that your investments are ethical and green. Divest from fossil fuels. Vote with your dollars. Invest in a heat pump for your home to lower your heating bill. If you need to drive, save up to purchase a hybrid or electric vehicle. Figure how far you and your family are willing to walk, bicycle, take public transit, car share, etc., and set up systems to help you use these greener modes of transportation more often. Be willing to make changes, compromises, even sacrifices for the sake of the future.

Support fair elections and electoral reform so that governments are made up of elected officials representing all voices, not just those beholden to fossil fuel industries.

Learn the basic science of the unprecedented crime of greenhouse gas pollution and the anthropogenic (human-caused) climate and oceans crisis it has led to. Then learn why climate disruption and the trifecta of ocean heating, ocean acidification, and ocean de-oxygenation represent an urgent emergency. Understand that the climate change denial campaign is deliberate and extremely well funded. They can sound convincing, but don’t be fooled. Do your own research, check your sources, and stay strong.

The greatest immediate threat is food and water insecurity. After all, we have evolved over the last 10,000 years into a species dependent on agriculture – and agriculture is dependent upon a stable climate, which we’ve had globally for the last 10,000 years – until now. Encourage ecological and regenerative agricultural practices and the implementation of permaculture principles. Mulch your garden. Plant trees. Lend support (time, money, energy, expertise) to food-growing programs for children and schools. We can’t grow food overnight; nor can we learn to grow food overnight. Be a champion for a different kind of education … one that will help create the world we need.

Permaculture the heck out of your community. Turn public spaces and boulevards into food forests. Build food security, food sovereignty, food resilience. (If climate chaos is going to lead to worldwide hunger, at least we'll be among the last to go.)

Get your local municipal government/s to declare a climate change emergency. (The Climate Mobilization can offer guidance with this.)

Protest outside of any bank that is investing in global destruction. Divest while you're at it, and put your money into a community bank or credit union.

Pull off some "intersactions." Take your protest signs to the busiest intersection in your community and keep crossing the road when the walk sign is on walking around in a square. Get it? High visibility. Not illegal. Drivers won't be turned off because you're not blocking traffic.

Remember to make your planning meetings and your public actions inclusive (invite others who might not normally participate) and accessible (for example, to people with disabilities, to parents with small children). 

Finally, do your spiritual work – pray, meditate, dance, go for walks, whatever – but don’t stop there! Remember, we all have at least a little bit of time, money, energy and/or expertise to share.

 And hey, if none of these actions feels right to you, you can always bake muffins for those on the front lines of saving the world. Even protestors have to eat!

Adapted from Henry Van Dyke

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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?