03 March 2019

Hats Off to President T**** for Giving Us the Emergency

 Well, we owe a debt of gratitude to that childish "leader" south of the Canadian border. If it wasn't for him, we would still be fighting for a declaration of the climate change emergency. But he has, with his feckless "wall" emergency, managed to ignite a sudden firestorm of concern for the climate crisis.

Sure, others worked hard to lay the groundwork — some for decades (thank you, James Hansen, Al Gore, my hubby, Greenpeace, the IPCC), others for several years (this blog celebrates its 10th anniversary this year!). But nobody listened.

No, it took an American Republican climate-change-denying puerile president having a tantrum to get his own way (ya just know he wants to put his name on that border wall) to wake up the American Democratic asleep-on-their-hopium yawning citizens to the possibility that their next president could call an emergency of her own — a climate change emergency. 

If the whole situation wasn't so frightening, we could view it as a tragicomedy. 

1. For starters, those of us who have known this was an emergency for YEARS (see When 1000 is Greater Than 300,000) have been told repeatedly — REPEATEDLY — that talking about the urgency and the potential disastrousness of climate change would shut people down ... immobilize them. Indeed, we heard it again yesterday. (We've never agreed with those people — see You CAN Handle the Truth! — and explained why, but nobody listened.) And yet, all it took was a loud enough orange flame (sorry, couldn't resist) to ignite concern of one-upmanship (I guess nobody thought Obama's swine flu emergency declaration was ill advised.)

2. For years, I always hushed my voice when talking about climate change in a public place. Now, I'm hearing people all over the place talking about climate change! (It's a day of exclamation marks, I'm afraid. ;-)

3. For years, people have been excoriating former Vice-President Al Gore for making climate change "political." Suddenly it IS political, and people are trying to score political points with it all over social media.

4. I never imagined we'd have to come to a climate change emergency declaration through the back door by having it supplanted by a wall emergency declaration, with half the American population then rising to its defense. Now, here's the thing. Is their concern actually for climate change, or just for the right of their president to get her emergency of choice declared? 


Perhaps it doesn't matter where the concern came from. People are fired up now, and that's what matters. Now, to the task of giving them something to do with this newfound energy and interest in the climate crisis.

A) Everyone needs to write / phone / fax / email / visit their elected officials at every level to insist, require and demand that all fossil fuel subsidies be stopped forthwith. We can't keep handing the fossil fuel industries our tax money ($5.3 trillion in direct and indirect subsidies every year worldwide, according to the IMF) when we're trying to get to a ZERO-CARBON ECONOMY by 2050. 

B) For a long time, the lack of urgency on climate change has stemmed not just from the lies and cheating of the deniers, but also from a crisis of imagination. People just haven't been picturing that a fossil-fuel-free world of perpetual, everlasting renewable energy will be safer, cleaner, healthier, more equitable and more peaceful. The Golden Age of Solar Energy has the potential to be the best ever era in human history. It certainly would give children back their future. 

But we have to get our carbon emission into decline by 2020. Can we do it? We did it by accident during the global financial crisis of 2008-2009, so we can certainly do it on purpose — with a sense of purpose — by using our imaginations, our creativity, our care and concern and compassion, and the millions of solutions already out there. And if we can always afford to go to war (right?), then we can most certainly afford to mobilize to safeguard our precious biosphere. 

C) If all this makes you feel sad or angry, that's okay. It makes perfect sense! Then turn that anger or depression into action. (And remember, talking about it is a form of action.) But put some good news in your back pocket first, both for the naysayers and to bolster your own resolve to be part of this good fight. For example, check out the enthusiasm and ambition of Costa Rica to be part of the solution:
Costa Rica Launches "Unprecedented" Push for Zero Emissions by 2050

Or be inspired by young Greta Thunberg — and take her deeply honest words to heart. She has definitely contributed to waking up the world (along with the IPCC's October 2018 Special Report on 1.5ºC).

Do anything, but please just don't go back to sleep. The world needs, as Paul Gilding says, all hands on deck to deal with this emergency!

1 comment:

  1. Well said, and a powerful call to action. Thanks for everything you do, Julie!


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?