September 19, 2009

elephantjournal.com’s Waylon Lewis featured on new Huffington Post Denver w Gov. Ritter, Congressman Jared Polis, Gary Hart, ed-in-chief Ethan Axelrod.

How do we win the War against Climate Change?

For a war it is, indeed—and the costs, for anyone who remembers the millions of dead trees among the pine forests of the Rockies, killed by longer-living, ever-breeding, wider-spreading pine beetles (who are normally killed fast by the cold of winter) or future and more powerful and more frequent Katrinas (warmer oceans = more storms) or even the pilgrimages of the Great Depression, when drought wiped farmers out, who then traveled to California by the thousands, only to face starvation and work camps…well Climate Change, if the oceans do indeed rise, would cause the greatest pilgrimages by the poorest of peoples in many parts of the globe. Millions of Indians, for example, fleeing to higher land from their monsoon-besot native climes…

But this is not an easy war to set our patriotism against—Rambo can’t kill any Soviet in this battle. It is a war of ideas.

And, thus far, by and large, our greatest leaders—Paul Hawken, Bill McKibben, Van Jones, Simran Sethi, even Treehugger.com and Grist.org—are by and large contained by their own demographics—that is, they only talk to “us.” Climate Change “deniers” are dismissed or argued with or made fun of or judged as having some sinister political purpose behind their willful ignorance (for that is what it is). Still, it is our job to educate and inspire the masses that this “Green” stuff isn’t liberal, it’s universal. That it is simple about making America energy-independent—something we all want—and keep our skies clear of pollution—something we all want for our children—and inspiring innovative, native new technologies—something wonderful for American-based business.

Some of us have tried. We have to keep trying. We have to stop deriding the enemy, and make him or her our friend.

This may seem innocuous, easy to agree with. Then why are some of our best speakers not doing it? Why are we preaching to the choir? Why is this issue, this war, so unpopular on a Saturday afternoon in the green mountain valley that is Boulder, Colorado, that only a few hundred come out for a discussion by our leaders? And those hundreds are caucasian, and graying, by and large—old warriors who’ve fought many a noble, peaceable battle…but where is the youth? The diversity that is necessary to win this war? We need old and young, black and white, rich and poor, Republican and Democrat, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and agnostic. This tent must be tall and wide, so tall and wide the heavens are its roof, the horizon its bounds.

Let’s save this world, and have fun doing so. It’s possible—just. But if we keep nodding along with folks we already agree with, and taking potshots at those who try and get something done but have to compromise in doing so—if we stay out of the fray ourselves, remaining pure and unsullied by the bullshit that is our political system—well I don’t see how this earth of ours is going to continue to host a healthy human race.

Life is best supported on this planet when carbon dioxide is below 350 parts per billion. We’ve never been above that—historically, we’ve been well under. Now, we’re at 387—and rising.

What do we do? How do we turn our society around? We’ve seen radical shifts in deep-set patterns before—as with smoking or closing the ozone layer—how do we pull this one out, when we’re down 20 in the fourth quarter?

Please leave comments here—my post re attending a Climate Change forum in Boulder the other day is featured along with Congressman Jared Polis and Governor Bill Ritter on the home page of Huffington Post Colorado—quite an honor.

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