So, after seven months of no blog posts, I am, once again, trying to get into the habit of regular updates. Like a cat pouncing on an eagle, I shall boldly pounce on this great monster, Climate Change.
Ok, metaphor aside, I’ve been doing good work over the last seven months, I’ve got a novel just about written, and I’ve made progress on climate action both in my professional and my private life. This past week, I helped a community commit to taking action, and now am part of a team working to make that commitment become reality.
One of the things I hear fairly regularly from my conservative friends, acquaintances, and verbal sparring partners, is, “It’ll never be enough for you environmental nuts!”
It will be enough, eventually. We have a clear goal, and awareness of that goal is growing, especially through the work of the 350 movement. If we can get our atmospheric CO2 concentrations to no more than 350ppm (Parts Per Million), we can keep a climate that is more or less ideal for humans, and the species we are accustomed to. Doing that, however, is not easy, and not quick. I fully expect it to take more than the remainder of my lifetime (barring unexpected immortality).
And so the feeling that it will never be enough is a valid one in many ways. We are more or less guaranteed to pass 400ppm well before we stop using fossil fuels, and it’s much, much harder to lower atmospheric gas concentrations than it is to increase them. And so, for the rest of my life, and the rest of the lives of everybody reading this, persistence will be the watchword.
Have I changed my lightbulbs? Good! What’s next? I bike everywhere now? GREAT! What’s next? Am I completely carbon-neutral? Well done! What’s next? Can I pull carbon out of the atmosphere? Can I help my neighbors also become carbon neutral? How about the factory down the road?
It’s hard to keep moving like this. It’s hard to keep working towards a goal that will not be achieved in your lifetime. It really is. On the other hand, I truly believe that if THIS generation takes ownership of the challenges they face – If all of us who are now alive shoulder this burden, and work hard for the future of our species – not for Americans, or Frenchmen, or Kenyans, or Catholics, or Muslims, or Atheists – as HUMANS. If we can really start this ball rolling, and keep pushing it throughout our lives, then we will have set a new bar for “the greatest generation.”
This is a Great Work in every sense of the word. Survival of our civilization will require bravery, ingenuity, integrity, cooperation, action, strength, and persistence. It will be the work of ten billion lifetimes, all pushing together, and the monument we will leave behind is a society that can function without pumping greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, and a world where oil spills are a thing of the distant past, and black lung is spoken of only in history books. It will be a monument to hope and perseverance, and not only will it be a monument, it will be useful in ways that the pyramids of the world never were – it will continue to serve humanity for millennia, if we build it right.
I’m eager to start that work. How about you?