Saturday is October 24th - the International Day of Climate Action

It’s here - what will be the largest ever coordinated worldwide demonstration of caring - for our planet and perhaps even our species - Saturday October 24th, the International Day of Climate Action. You can find several actions in your area by looking up your zip code at 350.org.

One global action that caught my eye is one of the Boulder (Colorado) actions, the “item pass-along” - simply gather 350 objects you no longer use, photograph or list them, and sell or donate them. What better impetus to a fall cleanup!

The latest news on climate change, as you may have noticed, is dire. One of the most discouraging collection of reports came out with the recent gathering at the University of Oxford (International Climate Science Conference). They say we are presently committed to warming the planet 2 degrees. A serious worry now is that we may warm by 4 degrees by 2060, something that has not occurred on Earth in the last 30 million years.

This is what we need to know: that when scientists with impeccable credibility brief our government with these concerns, and propose a course of action that is grounded in science, the response is that “the Senate will never agree to this”.

But who votes in the congresscritters?

As my neighbor Doug says, “It is amazing that people will stand in a burning barn, and not run out the door for fear of what may be outside.”

This is what is outside the barn: a chance to save our species. We should not live under the illusion that in the face of global ecosystem collapse, we somehow will be spared extinction.

And this is what needs to happen in order to step outside: an END to carbon emissions. This is because the cumulative amount of CO2 is the problem. In that sense, 350ppm is not the goal. It still adds up to warming. The goal is zero emissions. According to scientist John Schellnhuber, this needs to happen by 2035, but the way things are going, personally, I would aim for 2020.

What we fear, I think, is having to change our way of life, without any sort of guarantee that we are not being fools to do so. We are all waiting for the government to give the signal, but the government sees economic disruption ahead and gets cold feet. Better pretend “no one could have seen this coming”. The people in power now will be long gone by 2060. But my children will be alive!

Here at Transition, we do "back-casting": we can decide that the goal is zero-emissions by 2020 (actually this is the goal for a wasteful developed nation like the US), and map out the way to get there. Or take Dr. Schellnhuber's suggestion to cut 2% of emissions across the board starting now. Or 10% of personal emissions by 2010. Or follow a "No Impact Man" lifestyle. Something that would meet the science.

Sharon Astyk recently modified the story of Noah's Ark for her synagogue. Her version explores the ways in which each of us can slowly build an "ark" in our neighborhoods. Her vision is nothing if not exciting, warm and full of heart. You can read it here: http://sharonastyk.com/2009/10/20/the-ark/

The Transition Towns movement makes this clear: when the “trappings” of our modern civilization fall away, what can remain is the best of what humans can be: cooperative, loving, caring, resourceful and fearless.

 

 

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