Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Climate Action NOW

"For many years climate communicators were told not to scare people... [but] fear is the energy... & outrage is the machine that metabolises that energy & propels people into action." - Dr. Genevieve Guenther, "The Language of Climate Politics"

[UPDATE: The letter to the editor was published in Wednesday's La Crosse Tribune.] Last week, I submitted a letter to the editor of the La Crosse Tribune about the March 20 release by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of its final 6th conference "synthesis" report

It's copied below. We have to pay attention. We have such a short time to change--in our own lives and in our communities. The fun police must step in soon, I think,  since few fellow humans seem to think "root-and-branch transformation" applies to them.

While many are facing fines and prison to protest about rising emissions and lack of urgency in the UK, most of us in the U S  are still dancing and flying around like there's no tomorrow. With all respect to the many dedicated organizers, this year the Earth Fair must be much more about the precarious future we've guaranteed for all creatures on EARTH and much less about having fun at the FAIR. 

When are we going to reduce all emissions and how? Isn't that the most important question right now? Yet, what media program, local news story, or Tribune article is giving this message? What emergency departments or  actions have our city, state, or country set up to deal with this existential threat? What fest or event is willing to change its programming to reduce transportation and energy-generation emissions?  

This has to be a real life thing, not a paper calculation of hypothetical emissions saved by using a bike share to get to the baconfest. Root-and-branch. 

If those who understand the deep and immediate crisis we are facing now don't wake up each day and think, "What can I do today to talk deeply about the crisis and to enable the necessary transformation?" who is going to? 

Climate emergency demands immediate action

On March 20, the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the final part of its sixth assessment report. The conclusion? Act now or we lose it all. As Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environmental Program, said last year, “We had our chance to make incremental changes. That time is over. Only a root-and-branch transformation … can save us.”

After decades of warnings, we're still not in emergency mode. Our best hope politicians are still permitting more fossil fuel production. The global rich continue jetting around the world. Plastic production and animal agriculture continue to grow.

The media barely mentions the crisis. Non-stop coverage of sports, gossip, and entertainment diverts attention from floods, droughts, collapsing food systems, vanishing sea and land ice, and mass extinctions. Occasional stories about climate refugees are followed by ads for exotic vacations and baconburgers. Let's play! Let's party!

Individual actions seem inadequate, but they add up. Today, we, personally and institutionally, can switch as much travel as possible to walking, biking, and taking the bus; switch to plant-based diets; use less electricity; and support installing solar on every available space. We can push governments to take immediate climate action, as La Crosse is poised to do, and reject climate misinformation. We can vote for candidates who will make those “root-and-branch” transformations.

In an emergency, you don't ask how you can keep doing everything the same, you ask how you can drastically change what you are doing to fix things. Read more at https://tinyurl.com/guardian-ipcc6th

"If we continue on our current path, we will face the collapse of everything that gives us our security--food production, access to fresh water, habitable ambient temperature, and ocean food chains. And, if the natural world can no longer support the most basic of our needs, then much of the rest of civilization will quickly break down. Please, make no mistake. Climate change is the biggest threat to security that modern humans have ever faced."

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