Getting around obstacles

One of the great frustrations for climate activists is the appalling behavior of the United States government. After over a century of science, and decades of warnings and discussion, we still have elected officials using biblical quotes to justify inaction.

No really.

Notice he calls it a “theological” debate, when talking about the merits of carbon in the atmosphere.

It’s not hard to despair, especially when it’s quite clear that without government action, little of significance will be done. It’s an issue that bugs me, and will continue to do so for as long as it exists. It’s entirely clear that the government will not move fast enough. If they were going to, they would have started years ago.

So, that leaves us with the question of what WE can do. How can we work on climate change as citizens who, statistically, control a tiny portion of this country’s material resources?

There are a lot of different answers, but most of us have heard all the stuff about changing lightbulbs and turning down thermostats, and are looking for something bigger. For that, we need to start acting together as communities.

The example I have to present today is from my own work. I was approached with an opportunity to secure a rental agreement for a piece of land, on behalf of a community in New England. I got a number of people to agree to chip in to meet the monthly rent, and in return, we have 40 acres of land that we can use to work on climate change adaptation.

It’s not clear exactly what will come of this, but the goal is to use the land as a working laboratory for agriculture, construction, power generation, and anything else that might need land, and is relevant to climate action.

Our vision is to provide the space for people to learn how to build homes that generate their own power, and possibly indoor farms that do the same. People will be able to study agriculture, and work on producing food in an increasingly unpredictable  climate. People will be able to explore the mechanics of wind power, both using it for electricity, but also to pump water, or run stationary machinery. Eventually, we’ll be able to offer cheap courses for people to come, and learn skills to bring back to their communities.

This project has every potential to become something that will change lives for years, if not decades to come, and it is doing so at little cost to any one person for the simple reason that we are acting as a community to provide what resources we can to meet the needs.

This is the next step, after you’ve changed your lightbulbs, and insulated your house. Talk to your friends. Talk to your neighbors. Find something that you can pool your resources to do, that will pave the way for future action.

The government is NOT acting fast enough, and it is our responsibility, as we continue to raise awareness and push for real climate legislation, to take matters into our own hands.

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