Hope and Inspiration Moving on climate change with friends, connections and community. The second forum for the Orinda Community Church Life-Long Learning by Sue Boudreau, Sept.27th, 2009
Chat with your neighbor about: (see handout) What aspect of climate change particularly concerns you? How are you already working on climate change issues (inc. environmental AND humanitarian issues)? Which of these actions do you get the most satisfaction and joy from? What else are you considering? What might motivate or allow you to do more?
As you listen, note what speaks to you Which issues? What activities/actions? But don’t be clouded by guilt and fear. Instead consider….
What sounds intriguing?
What sounds like a good match for your skills and talents?
What will make you more able to bear the sadness of a threatened world?
Why don’t people act on this urgent issue?The following from Stoll-Kleemann, S. et al., 2001: The Psychology of Denial Concerning Climate Mitigation Measures: Evidence from Swiss Focus Groups” Global Environmental Change, 11, 107-17 “It’s too hard to change what I do.” (fabricated constraints, comfort) “I protect the environment in other ways, like recycling.” (displaced commitment.) “Nothing I do makes much difference.” (powerlessness) “You have no right to challenge me.” (condemning the accuser) “I’m not the main cause of this problem, it’s ____ fault.” (denial and shifting of responsibility).
A culture of competitive individualism and manifest destiny doesn’t fit with an interconnected ecosystem or our global community. With apologies to Alan Ladd as Shane, for being a cultural icon of rugged individualism. In fact, pioneers had to be interdependent on each other and nature to survive.
Being misled by seasonal and annual fluctuations of climate.
Believing that being thin, beautiful, young and rich = happiness.
Electronic entertainment if it sucks up too much time
Fear and cynicism ‘learned’ from disaster movies and ‘end time’ preaching.
Excuses, Distractions, Individualism will lead to a ‘Tragedy of the Commons’Hardin,G..,1968:”The Tragedo of the Commons,” Science, 162, 1243-8 Wet sheep, Lake District common land, UK. Commons at risk now are fisheries, the oceans, rivers and the atmosphere.
And some have… By changing their response to environmental degradation Japan More wet sheep No sheep here and Iceland avoided total deforestation, erosion and collapse. We can too:
We have re-tooled our entire economy within months… But this time, there is no clear external enemy – the ‘enemy’ is us. And the threat is a ‘long emergency’ like boiling frogs. The world’s military spending is + $1 trillion. Lester Brown estimates $190 billion to save civilization under his ‘Plan B’.
We’ve made progress globally Child mortality has fallen. Globally, more children are in primary school. Some 1.6 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water since 1990. Acid rain has dropped 60% since early ‘90s. Lead in air has improved 91% since 1980. Global agreements to address the ozone hole.
There’s good news and hope in the air World fertility levels are declining China has announced plans to fight global warming at the G-20 conference this week.
‘Green collar’ jobs are booming in all sectors of the economy.
Funds from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will stimulate green energy, environment and water clean up, mass transit and science at the Dept. of Energy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization. Overwhelming public support for “Cash for Clunkers” Community level change in energy generation and use, is happening all over the world. Farmers Markets are the fastest growing sector of food retail.
And good news FOR the air… In the first major study of the effect of the recession on climate change, the International Energy Agency (IEA), is predicting a drop in carbon dioxide emissions of around 2.6 per cent in 2009 - the largest in 40 years. It’s mostly due to declining industrial output, and the shelving of plans for new coal-fired power stations. And to government policies such as Europe's target of cutting emissions by 20 per cent by 2020, US car emission standards and China's energy-efficiency policies. “Good News at Last” by Nic Fleming, New Scientist, Sept.22,2009
We could step into a brighter future than we fear
Our young people long for meaningful quests “Green” needs to be re-branded as the quest to save civilization, which it is.
And there are already many ways they (and we) are getting involved: The ‘Grow Food’ and ‘Take Action’ projects at OIS. School gardens at all Orinda schools. Project Common Hope Youth philanthropy through New GlobalCitizens.org, DoSomething.org Anne McCarten-Gibbs to talk about how to choose a good NGO to work with.
Plus we have way cooler technology than in the dark ages… Solar power technology can be in roof tiles, paint, and soon, may be embedded in roads and parking lots. We already possess technology to improve efficiency (more than 58% of energy is wasted). We can grow much more food per acre than ever before. Surprisingly simple technologies that will reduce emissions and improve people’s lives – the solar stoves in Kenya. The children’s round-about well pump installed all over Africa and Asia. It’s possible to modify or build a zero emission house and even whole communities.
Finally, there is the possibility that America will work together with rich and poor nations to reduce global carbon emissions fairly at Copenhagen in December. The Group of 20 Economic Summit in Pittsburg right now supersedes the G-8 and includes developing nations. Global economic and environmental policies are in the works, in preparation for the UN Climate Conference, which aims to update the Kyoto treaty. Obama was elected by a landslide of voters, the majority of whom understand the need for action on climate. The new administration is packed with scientists who understand the urgency – Stephen Chu, former director of LBL, is the Secretary of Energy, the USGS is headed by a geologist. Science is back in the Whitehouse.
But most of all, best of all, sustainable living… Requires us to slow down and appreciate less more. Depends on building the local community that we long for.
Some root problems shake out of the webs of cause and effect… 1. The amount of absorbed solar radiation - geo-engineering 3. Population 2. Oil Use
Can we cool down with geo-engineering? Stratospheric aerosols Seeding clouds Carbon sequestration Unforeseen consequences. From “If emissions cuts are not enough..”, C.Brahic, New Scientist, 9/5/09
How can we reduce the oil we use? a. Environmental Economics – i. What is the ‘economy’ for? ii. Hopeful economic policies b. A Fair and Sustainable Deal for Developing Countries c. Alternative energy sources d. More Efficient Use of Energy i. Homes ii. Transport iii. Food
What (and who) is the ‘economy’ for? What you measure is what you get so measure what you want:
Redefine the bottom line – GNP to a measure that includes the health, sustainability and happiness of the people. French premier pushing this, Bhutan has a Gross National Happiness measure. Tikkun’s New Bottom Line.
Restructure the market to tell the ecological truth: By capping carbon emissions at falling levels each year, nations and companies can trade unused allowances, leading to economic incentives for companies and consumers to reduce CO2 emissions.
Ca “Global Warming Solutions” Act.
Waxman-Markey Bill to cap and reduce greenhouse gas emissions has passed the House and awaiting action in the senate.
Copenhagen UN Climate Summit in December to agree on national emissions caps and timeline.
There has to be a fair and sustainable deal for developing countries We have to bring developing nations to a decent standard of living without wrecking the planet, especially China and India. Copenhagen UN Climate Change Conference, Dec. 2009 – Cuts in industrialized emissions, and establishes a Green Fund for developing nations to ‘leapfrog’ to cleaner energy technologies.
Interested in Environmental Economics? – an Orinda Opportunity! Read more, especially Plan B. See the reading list and add to it. Talk it up with friends. Invest in firms that are environmental leaders. Join one of the groups on the resources list. Write letters to the editor, OpEds, articles, books. Get a group together to talk to our senators about the Waxman-Markey Bill and the Copenhagen UN conference. Elect representatives on their environmental records. Run for office. Lead campaigns. See Bill McKibben’s guide for climate activism.
Reduce your Transport Footprint Policies to push for: Make towns more pedestrian, bike and transit-friendly – think “Europe” and “Disneyland” (in a good way). Subsidies for public transit and build more. Buy fuel efficient cars Share cars/rent when needed Scooters, electric bikes and motorcycles Take public transit Bicycle and walk Reduce air travel
Improve your driving efficiency with physics..
Help Reduce Population or are free school lunches the real answer?
Education of women is strongly correlated with lower family size.
Big families are necessary when child mortality is high and people lack security.
Education allows people to read seed packets, understand longer term consequences of decisions and the link between quality of life and the local environment.
Education about birth control and access to free and effective birth control
Women’s equality is a prerequisite to having fewer children
Incentives work better and are more ethical than mandates!
And free school lunches keep boys and girls in school!
While working to reduce global warming, we also have to reduce the effects of inevitable global warming to save civilization:
It’s all interconnected: Each of us with each other, in our families, communities, our nation and globally. Failing states take others around them down too. Social justice is intertwined with environmental sustainability Each of us with our environment – the air we breathe, the earth beneath our feet, the species we eat, the species we love, and our spiritual need for nature.
But if we mobilize to act individually With direct action
See books like “50 Things You Can Do to Save the World” and the hand out for ideas
By supporting Non-Governmental Organizations for environmental and social justice. - See the hand out for ideas.
AND collectively, we can save civilization… As campaigners, educators and leaders. Through our professions and organizations we are employed by. By supporting policies that lead to a shift from individualism to interconnectedness. As part of millions of people already doing something – UN Development Goals, Copenhagen etc. As part of the hundreds of people already doing something…
Community Action is key – two promising initiatives: Read, discuss and act with the Northwest Earth Institute discussion courses – Choices for sustainable living, Menu for the Future, Voluntary Simplicity etc. http://www.nwei.org/ “Transition Initiatives is a movement that builds community resilience in response to the challenges of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis”.
“Parties with a Purpose” is a less formal way of building community around green themes Folding laundry and ironing? Cooking, making jam? Canning? Painting? Installing solar panels, drip irrigation? Mulching? Fruit drying? Scary English cakes by cardigan clad cooks…
If we work with young people:as a parent, grandparent, camp counselor, coach, teacher or Sunday school teacher Include them in what you are doing for a sustainable world in their future. Garden and cook, hike and bike with kids. Help set up and run a school gardens. Get involved with ‘greening’ our schools. Teach critical thinking while watching TV, reading together etc. Support educational standards and testing for critical thinking and relevance.
Actually, EDUCATION is the answer to everything! Really.
If we act in ways that give us joy That make the most of our personal talents and inclinations. That make our life better… That inspire others, And are fun. Conservation psychology… smiley faces on PG and E bills, polar bears on ice floes, trophies for gas mileage. Social and fashion, energy tracking apps. There is no ‘one’ answer – a diversity of talents are vital, working in different ways to make the world better.
And know that while it’s not going to be easy, it’s better than watching our children’s world go to hell in a handbasket.
We can actually save civilization, and change it for the better: A world where we will be more connected with each other and the natural world. A somewhat slower life with our hands in the soil . With more social justice, less stuff but better food, more friends and stronger communities. A world that shares the best elements of iconic American stories of family, community and connection.
If we act now and just start. Do what we can right now, with the people right here. Write your name and phone# or e-mail on one or more Post-Its. Post them on the Issue/Action chart we’ll brainstorm toward the end. Find others who shares a similar interest in issue and/or in actions. Talk about what small thing you could do together. Maybe arrange to talk more later.
Until we meet next week: Do something small this week – the first small piece of a big project, or a small thing that stands on it’s own. Consider, read, think and pray about the role of faith, our faith community, and your role within that as we work to save civilization from climate change. We’ll share at our next forum, Sunday 4th Oct. 2009 – “Saving Civilization from Climate Change: The role of Faith, Orinda, Community and Church.”
Bibliography: see handout. Orinda and State-level interested/interesting community opportunities for action Orinda City websitehttp://www.ci.orinda.ca.us/ and then go to “Community Links”. “A Vision for Orinda” – article at http://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue0312/A-Vision-for-Downtown-Orinda.html Upcoming meeting at Orinda Chamber of Commerce on Friday, October 23rd from Noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Orinda Country Club. The cost is $30. RSVP 925-254-3909 or http://orindachamber.org/events.php#luncheon. California Government Climate Change Program with many links to upcoming legislation and initiatives needing public input: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/cc.htm Other Interested/Interesting Communities taking Action: The Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, Oct. 16-18thhttp://www.bioneers.org/conference The Network of Spiritual Progressives – “Spiritual Activism and the Politics of Meaning”, headed by local Rabbi Michael Lerner. http://www.spiritualprogressives.org/ The Transition Initiative “Transition Initiatives are part of a vibrant, international grassroots movement that builds community resilience in response to the challenges of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis”.: http://www.transitionus.org/ The Slow Food Movement “links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.” http://www.slowfoodusa.org/ Global and National Policy and Science News: The NY Times Science and Environment http://www.nytimes.com/pages/science/earth/ Solve Climate blog, a non-commercial journalistic blog http://solveclimate.com/blog. Effective Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) “A Guide to Environmental Non-Profits”, 3/1/06, Stein and Beckel, Mother Jones at www.motherjones.com. From Bill McKibben: http://www.billmckibben.com/fightglobalwarmingnow/global-warming-resources.html Resources and Reading (print, web sites) Science “The International Panel on Climate Change” IPCC http://www.ipcc.ch/ “Physics for Future Presidents” Richard A.Muller, 2008, W.W.Norton and Co., NY. “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet”, Mark Lynas, 2008, publ. Harper Collins “Scientific American Earth 3.0: Solutions for Sustainable Progress”www.ScientificAmerican.com/Earth3 New Scientist environment newshttp://www.newscientist.com/section/environment See very recent articles “Blueprint for a better world” Parts 1,2 and 3 “National Geographic Earth Pulse– State of the Earth 2010, Collector’s Edition” 2009 Economics, Policy and Activism “Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization”, Lester R. Brown, 2008, publ. Earth Policy Institute, W.W.Norton and Co., NY. “Collapse”, Jared Diamond, 2006, publ. Viking “Deep Economy”, Bill McKibben, 2007 publ.Times Books Henry Holt and Co., NY. “Fight Global Warming Now – The handbook for taking action in your community”, Bill McKibben and the Step It Up team, 2007, publ. Times Books Henry Holt and Co. NY. http://www.billmckibben.com/fightglobalwarmingnow/ “The Give-Back Solution: Create a Better World with your Time, Talents and Travel” Susan Skog, 2009, publ. Sourcebooks Inc. Community and Spirituality “The Transition Initiative”, Jay Griffiths, Orion Magazine, Aug.2009 http://www.orionmagazine.org/index.php/articles/article/4792 . “Orion Society” “It is Orion‘s fundamental conviction that humans are morally responsible for the world in which we live, and that the individual comes to sense this responsibility as he or she develops a personal bond with nature.” http://www.orionsociety.org/ “Three Cups of Tea – One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time”. Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin, publ. Penguin Books 2007 Eco-theology “A New Climate for Theology: God, the World and Global Warming”, Sallie McFague 2008, publ. Minneapolis: Augsburg “Living from the Center: Spirituality in an Age of Consumerism”, Jay McDaniel, 2000, Chalice Press “The Great Work: Our Way into the Future”, Thomas Berry, 1999, publ. Bell Tower See the handout.
3. Images of Hope and Inspiration Slide show set to music – need suggestions. Halo Music (Orchestral Halo Theme) 3m2s http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sjvo0SPAOiQ Michael Jackson - Heal The World 6m http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W61Q-EZ8R7M&feature=related