Tag Archives: action

Off The Deep End: How can one person influence politics?

In the last section, I talked about how artists and writers can help create a common vision of a better future that seems within reach. When this succeeds, and that vision takes hold, there are a number of reactions, and one of the more common ones is a desire to look at how to make that future a reality. Sure, we have the technology and know-how to create a better society, but do we have the collective will to do so?

Politics, in America, are daunting, to say the least. We live in an increasingly plutocratic society, in which the majority of legislators are far wealthier than the average American, and the cost of running for office seems to get higher with every election. So how can one person, or even a handful of people, make a difference in this arena?

There are a lot of possible answers to that question, so I’m going to start (as is my wont) with my own experience. Continue reading

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Off the deep end: An inexpert guide to dealing with climate change: Announcement.

UPDATE: Chapter One is going to be a bit late because reasons. I’ll have it up in a couple hours. In the meantime, please enjoy the prefaces.

In my last post, I linked to a video that basically contained a video reprisal of the worst-case scenario voiced in the opening statement of this blog. It’s a bleak picture, and all the more so because it’s an accurate statement of the danger we face.

This post is the first of a series designed to provide an antidote, of sorts for the fear and despair that can so easily rise up when faced with the realities of global climate change. As I said in my last post, I wholeheartedly believe that we can deal with this problem and rise above it to create a civilization that will make our current existence look downright primitive. That belief is, I think, a reasonable one. We have the ability to power our society with renewable energy many times over, and there are many ways to generate, harness, and use energy that we simply don’t exploit. Some of my thoughts on this can be found in the section called “building the future we want“.

My goal in writing this series of blog posts is not only to have you believe that such a future is technically possible, but also to have you share the vision that drives me. My goal is to take the spirit of the quote by Antoine de Saint Exupéry at the head of this blog, and apply it to the Great Work that is responding to the threat of man-made global climate change. I don’t want people working on this because they feel obligated to (although that’s better than nothing), I’d like people working on it because they’re excited about the future we’re working to create.

In this series, I will cover a number of topics, ranging from the grand scale (working on national policy) to the small scale (one step beyond changing your lightbulbs). I will research the topics as thoroughly as I am able to do, in order to present a useful guide to responding to global warming at whatever level you are able. Part of this will be about dealing with the emotional and psychological burden. Part of it will be about looking at the world we have today and seeing the world it could become. The bulk of this series will be about working to bring about the world you want to live in.

I haven’t decided what the first installment will be, but whichever it is, I will have it available by Monday morning on January 20, 2014. Tune in then, and let’s see what we can get done.

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?
Continue reading

Hope Versus Fear

What does your ideal future look like?

This blog was started to give perspective to the usual warnings we hear about global warming, and to point out that things like sea level rise and worse storms – those are downright optimistic compared to the real worst-case scenarios. For this post, I’m going to take a break from the doomsaying to talk about constructive activity – something I hope to do more often over the course of this year.

Last February, I wrote a piece about how we need to accept the reality of the present situation, and take action. The lone comment on that piece was a simple question: “So, where do we start?”

This is the beginning of my answer to that question.
Continue reading

Persistence.

Credit to www.Motivationals.org

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.  Continue reading

Five minutes to midnight.

“This is the hardest, most terrible, thing to say to a young person, but we have no choice: it is five minutes before midnight. Time is running out.”

Peter Goldmark, director of the EDF‘s Climate and Air program said that in an interview with Dominique Browning that I was reading on Climate Progress, and it caught my attention in a slightly different way than usual.

Midnight has always had a power in human cultures. It signifies the end of a day, or of an era, or of a life. It is used widely from the clock in Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, to the Doomsday Clock, and the slow, measured tolling of the midnight bell is the footsteps of approaching doom – inevitable, implacable, and impartial.

To say that it is five minutes to midnight is to invoke the final warning, the last call for us to turn aside from the course that has aimed us at the abyss, and in legend it is a warning that is rarely, if ever, heeded. Continue reading

Why I give a damn

There’s a lot about climate change that is depressing, and a lot about it that’s frustrating, and every once in a while, it’s important to remind myself why I don’t just give up, shut it out, and live day to day.

There are a lot of reasons, obviously, but one of them is that my life is richer because of the current diversity of life. I’m not talking about medicines discovered in the disappearing Amazonian rainforests, or about the rolling landscapes in movies, or the joy of “just knowing they’re out there”, though those are all nice, I’m talking about my personal interactions with wildlife. As someone who has been obsessed with animals from a young age, I’ve sought them out, and so I’ve had a number of opportunities to see the diversity of life firsthand. In Tanzania, I got to watch lion cubs playing in the bushes, and I had a tiny bird basking on a rock a couple of feet from me in the frigid sunrise on Kilimanjaro. At Yellowstone I got to wake up in -10F weather to go out and watch wolves running across a snowbound field.  There have been many, many other experiences, both exotic and commonplace, at home and abroad, but for now I’m going to talk about just one in particular. Continue reading