Saturday, October 1, 2011

"An Open Sewer" 2

Luke Massman-Johnson continues:

So we need to change. But people are VERY afraid of change. "Many feel the 'American way of life' is an entitlement that operates outside the laws of nature. At the Earth Summit in 1992, George H.W. Bush forcefully declared, 'The American way of life is not negotiable.'"
But Bush missed a catastrophic blind spot in his hubris: GLOBAL WARMING doesn't negotiate either! With a flick of her wrist, CLIMATE CHANGE is more and more frequently wrecking havoc on our non-negotible way of life.
Ask the victims of Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Irene if their lives and homes withstood the tempest just by virtue of being Americans. Ask the victims of Joplin's tornadoes. Ask anyone who witnessed the drought and fires in Texas, or the rains and floods out East this year. And of course these events are happening all around the world.
So while change can be hard and scary, it is obviously harder or scarier NOT to change!
The good news is ... America thrives on change!
Think of it. All our core beliefs, traditions, and institutions were new ideas at one point. In fact one of the most vital pieces of America's robustness is her amazing ability to EVOLVE. It's not that America is always right, it's that we are constantly and fluidly getting better all the time.
A society that stubbornly resists necessary change becomes diseased. A culture of stagnant ideology and obstinate denialism, is blind to the course-corrections necessary to keep its society thriving.
Change is not easy. But we don't expect it to be easy. In the long tradition of change in America, our most profound evolutions have had to overcome incredible resistance. Civil rights, womens' rights, workers' rights. It is only with generations of hindsight that the foresight of our wisest leaders becomes enshrined as the bedrock of America.
Like the visionary leaders we admire in history, we can see the future today. GLOBAL WARMING threatens everything: our traditions AND our future.
So let's become the change we seek!
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How do we do that?
I will be honest with you. When you start to pull back the curtain on CLIMATE CHANGE and GLOBAL WARMING, it can feel pretty overwhelming. It's a huge problem with big consequences. It affects everyone on Earth. And even the smartest scientists and most powerful politicians have struggled to get their heads around it.
But there are many reasons for hope as well, and we need to keep them closely in mind as we march forward. Here are three pieces of great news to keep us motivated.
• First, most of the world is already closely aligned on the need for Climate action.
• Second, there are some great local efforts unfolding in US already.
• Third, you are in a position of power. Every day.
Let me briefly touch on each of these.
First, the vast majority of citizens of the world are at a tipping point on taking action against GLOBAL WARMING. 97% of scientists who specialize in climate already agree. Virtually every peer-reviewed scientific organization that addresses climate agrees. 98% of the world's countries already agree that international cooperation on CLIMATE CHANGE — like The Kyoto Protocol — is essential.
Meanwhile, countless other localized climate efforts are already having an impact around the world, like the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign.
Second, there are some great local political efforts unfolding in US Cities even though the federal
government hasn't yet ratified Kyoto.
Many local politicians have already moved against GLOBAL WARMING without waiting for a federal mandate. In fact, when the US failed to ratify Kyoto again in 2005, the Mayors of 500 US Cities — including Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Pasadena, and 135 others in California — those Mayors stood up and pledged Kyoto-like action on their own! The US Conference of Mayors put together a Best Practices Guide to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce GLOBAL WARMING, and create more livable communities.
Under our own Mayor Villaraigosa's watch, Los Angeles has indeed started to clean up it's act. We have begun to chip away at the absolute dominance coal has had over our electricity. We have started to improve public transit through the 30/10 plan. There are local initiatives for solar power, water conservation, building efficiency, the Million Trees LA plan, and many others.
Of course we need to hold our politicians accountable and make sure these plans are more than just words. But we also need to applaud and celebrate the considerable efforts that are underway already.
Finally, the third piece of great news — and this is something that even conservatives get behind — YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF.
These set pieces represent that a hundred times a day each of us stands at this decision point. A hundred times a day, for most decisions in your life, you are in a position of power to choose something that contributes to FOSSIL FUELS & GLOBAL WARMING, or to choose the thing which is CLEANER, GREENER, and SUSTAINS LIFE.
Some of those decision points are small — like turning the water off while you brush your teeth. And some of them are larger — like choosing a car that gets great milage. Some decisions you may not even recognize as having a huge impact on the climate — like eating meat.
The thing is, whether or not you realize the impact you're having with each of your choices ... you ARE having an impact.
So we can rally all we want. We can rant at politicians, and we can condemn the US Chamber of
Commerce and the Fossil Fuel Lobby. But the Fossil Fuel Lobby doesn't care that we're here today.
Why? Because as consumers, we are constantly sending them market signals with our purchases and decisions, that contradict and undermine what we're saying here in this rally.
When I buy a disposable bottled water, I'm telling the petroleum industry and the bottled water corporations that the unnecessary waste of petroleum and energy to make a disposable bottle, and the GLOBAL WARMING emissions of packing, shipping, and refrigerating it, are acceptable to me. I just donated to CLIMATE CHANGE!
When I leave my TV and DVD and DVR and computer and cell phone all plugged in 24/7 — instead of turning them off with a power strip at night — I'm telling the coal plant to keep the furnace raging because I need more power. I just paid for CLIMATE CHANGE!
So the real power that you have isn't here at City Hall Park — although I'm so grateful you joined another historic 350 worldwide rally. The real power you have is in your day-to-day, and moment-to-moment choices. Because the sum total of your decisions each day has far more bearing on CLIMATE CHANGE than your political vote every two or four years.
You stand in a position of power. You make the difference, all day, every day. Stopping GLOBAL WARMING and CLIMATE CHANGE is a choice. If each of you keeps making more and more sustainable choices, we can still stop GLOBAL WARMING and prevent the worst of CLIMATE CHANGE.
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The answer to that is as varied as each of us. Greening your life is a very personal effort. One size will NOT fit all.
Most of us are already well aware of the basic 'top 10' lists. Things you can do to reduce your footprint at home, at work and school. Things like:
• Adjust your thermostat, air conditioner, and water heater
• Turn off lights and unplug phone chargers when not in use
• Walk, bike, carpool or use public transportation
• Reduce, reuse, and recycle
• Buy local produce, shop at farmer's markets
• Insulate and use efficient bulbs
• Compost
• Plant trees
• Maintain tire pressure
• Fix water leaks
• Carry a reusable water bottle
As much as possible, these kinds of things should be BASIC HABITS for each of us every day.
So I challenge you to challenge yourself: find ways to make more sustainable choices. You don't have to look far, sustainable choices are literally everywhere.
And the amazing thing is, the more you do, the more you care. And the more you educate yourself, the more you want to do. It's an beautiful and virtuous circle, and it feels absolutely fantastic.
Here's what decision points have looked like in my life and with my family:
• I have chosen to be a bicycle commuter for most of my life.
• When I drive, I plan multiple errands in a single route
• When my family goes to a park or movie or restaurant, we often choose to stay local and bike there
• We purchased a small home that needs less heating and cooling
• We installed screens so I can open windows and doors for a breeze
• We installed ceiling fans instead of air conditioners in bedrooms, and only use them when
someone is in the room
• We insulated our water heater, and turned the temperature down a few degrees
• We have installed power strips on all computer, TV, and stereo equipment and turn them completely off when not in use
• We turn off the water while brushing our teeth, scrubbing in the shower, and washing dishes
• When we renovated our kitchen we installed Energy Star appliances and use them on their most
efficient settings
• We installed a water purifier under our sink and now bring water bottles almost everywhere
• My kids are responsible for turning off lights and equipment they use
• We canceled our newspapers and most of our magazines.
• When unwanted phone books and catalogs come, we call and have our name removed from the
mailing list.
• We go to the library more and the bookstore less.
• We draw and paint and build and dream more, and go to the toy store less.
• My daughter and I gradually became vegetarian, and our family rarely cooks meat at home
• We shop more at Farmer's Markets, and started putting compost in our green bin
• We recycle ambitiously
• By keeping compost and recycling out of our trash, we now throw away one small bag of trash a week
• We cut back on flying and try to plan trips and vacations right here in beautiful California
• When we do fly and travel, we take longer, more relaxed trips.
• When we shop on Ebay or Amazon, we search by distance as well as price to reduce carbon
emission in shipping
• When our big old car died, we leased a smaller, super-efficient clean diesel with the highest
available mpg
• And just this week we took advantage of the incredible incentives on solar panels available right now in LA. We will soon have CLEAN, GREEN solar electricity on our roof without paying a single dime.
Once you commit to your own version of green philosophy, each of you becomes the most powerful force you can be against climate change. You're impervious to the hysteria in the media on either side. You're above the frothing and finger-pointing in both directions. And you don't need to make anyone else wrong.
In closing, let me offer a pledge that I sketched out for myself to live more sustainably. These 25 points fit for me; not all of them will fit for you. I offer it simply as a reference for the kind of thinking that each of us needs to adopt if we are to make real headway against GLOBAL WARMING and CLIMATE CHANGE.
- - - - -
1. I trust the overwhelming scientific evidence: GLOBAL WARMING and CLIMATE CHANGE are real, man-made, extremely urgent and dangerous.
2. I will not be misled by denialist messages from the fossil fuel lobby and complicit politicians.
3. I understand that because of lobbyists and denialists politicians, the United States has been and
continues to be the single greatest roadblock to worldwide progress on GLOBAL WARMING.
4. I understand that in order to evolve America's position on GLOBAL WARMING, a domino chain of enlightenment needs to be kicked off.
5. I recognize that I am the first domino. The most direct effect I can have on GLOBAL WARMING is to evolve myself and reduce my carbon footprint.
6. I resolve to think globally and act locally, which means I recognize the direct relationship between the global threat of CLIMATE CHANGE and the choices I make every day.
7. I will reduce, reuse, and recycle.
8. I understand that my everyday sustainable choices are every bit as important and powerful as
pulling the lever in the voting booth.
9. I will attempt to live Kyoto in my home, at work, on my dinner table, at the mall and the grocery store, at the pump, and on vacation.
10. I understand that every four years I get one day to vote for a Presidential candidate and 1461 days of voting with my dollars
11. I acknowledge that carbon emissions are a hidden cost of everything I buy. Every day, with every purchase, my dollars cast my vote for or against sustainability.
12. With every purchase, I understand that I am responsible not only for the final product I take home, but for all the material, energy, resources, and carbon emissions that went into making, packaging, shipping, and selling it, and ultimately of recycling or disposing of it.
13. Therefore I pledge to buy less, buy with less packaging, buy recycled, and buy recyclable.
14. I will buy products that are better made and longer lasting, made of recycled or recyclable
materials, and which can be fixed.
15. I will fly and drive fewer miles
16. I will walk, bike, carpool, and take public transport more
17. I will buy local, buy organic, buy free range, from farmer's markets
18. I will eat less meat, eat grass fed, eat organic, eat free range, eat lower on the food chain
19. I will buy American, buy local, support businesses who are ambitiously working to reduce their carbon footprint
20. I recognize that the lifestyle of Americans far exceeds the world average not just in consumption but in material resources, energy use, waste products, and carbon emissions.
21. I will vote. I realize that if I don't vote, I have no right to complain about what happens in politics.
22. I accept that these are the efforts that I must make to win the war against CLIMATE CHANGE.
23. I am PROUD to choose to live sustainably. My decisions give me INTEGRITY and HONOR, and they model sustainable behavior for my children, my family, and my peers.
24. Living in integrity by reducing my carbon footprint is both radical and necessary. It is the definition of GOOD CITIZENSHIP, of STEWARDSHIP, and of PATRIOTISM.
25. This pledge is how I love my children, my family, and my country!
Remember, a hundred times a day each of you stands in a position of power on CLIMATE CHANGE. And your power doesn't stop there. When you live with integrity, you become a leader. By being the change you seek, and leading your family and friends, you can significantly multiply the impact of your choices.
Solving GLOBAL WARMING is a decision — it's your decision — and it makes a difference.
Thank you very much everyone for sticking with me through a speech that probably should have been published as a 3- volume set.

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