UPDATE: Unfortunately due to the coming winter storm, we’ve had to cancel the Jonathan Foley event that was scheduled for February 22nd at 7pm. We hope to reschedule for later this semester, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
By now you may have heard that we are in big trouble because of 100+ years' worth of fossil fuels use and emissions. Increasingly dire warnings to change--and we're not just talking about a few light bulbs--seem to have little impact on the "normal" everyone seems so happy to get back to after the pandemic that some say is over (but it isn't).
The thing that doesn't seem to be sinking in is that this crisis is not a cyclical thing that will eventually get better. When climate scientists and world leaders say this is an existential threat, they really mean it. Already millions of people, not to mention other fellow creatures, are ceasing to exist from clinate-change-caused drought, heat, floods, fires, starvation, and displacement.
Change must come. La Crosse's new climate action plan is a good start for local action, but this commitment must be taken seriously and duplicated in every city, town and burg around the world. The action steps can't be cherry-picked; the plan is the whole blanket needed to smother the fire. Pulling out only a few threads will not work. The action steps can't be just for the poor and powerless. When it says people have to switch from driving alone in their fossil-fueled cars to taking buses and riding bikes, it doesn't just mean people who aren't rich have to do this. It means all the people. Yes, even you.
As Inger Anderson, the Executive Director of the U.N. Environmental Programme said last fall, “We had our chance to make incremental changes, but that time is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation of our economies and societies can save us from accelerating climate disaster.”
What does a "root-and-branch transformation" mean? That is the question. And, maybe, the other one is how will we get to such a transformation, quickly, deeply, fairly, and equitably?