Saturday, April 2, 2011

The LOST two decades for attack on Climate Change!! #5 Final comments

HOT - Living through the next Fifty Years

closing words from Mark Herstgaard:

The economy, too, is changing. For the first time, the world in
2008 invested more money in wind, solar, and other renewable
power sources than in fossil fuel or nuclear-sourced electricity.
In the United States, greenhouse gas emissions actually began
declining. Lester Brown has pointed out that between 2007 and
2009 U.S. emissions fell by 9 percent. Brown acknowledged that
the economic recession was responsible for much of this decline,
but he argued that more environmentally significant factors also
played a key role. U.S. companies and consumers were using energy
more efficiently, while coal-fired power plants were being
replaced by natural gas, wind, solar, and geothermal. Additional
government policy changes, including increasing the efficiency of
autos and appliances, suggest that these shifts could gain speed
in the coming years. Meanwhile, the U.S. government, the nation's
largest single consumer of energy, has pledged to reduce its use
of vehicles by 30 percent by 2020 and to recycle 50 percent of
its waste by 2015. "We do not yet know how much we can cut carbon
emissions because we are just beginning to make a serious
effort," Brown concluded. "Whether we can move fast enough to
avoid catastrophic climate change remains to be seen.
That's the big question: We've begun the journey toward more
sustainable living, but can we accelerate our pace enough to
avoid disaster? Again, I believe we can, but only if we bring to
bear the resources of government and society as a whole through
programs like Green Apollo and activism like the climate movement
that came of age in Copenhagen. Fortunately, Green Apollo
programs make not only environmental but also economic and
political sense. Because they would create jobs, spur
technological innovation, and open vast opportunities for
business, such programs are in the majority of people's
self-interest and thus should attract considerable political
support. But Green Apollo really would amount to almost a
revolution in how politics is practiced, both in Washington and
in capitals around the world. It would require fundamental
changes in where government money goes, including taking billions
of dollars away from some of the most powerful interests in the
world, above all the oil and coal industries. Such fundamental
change will happen only if government officials are pushed by
intense, sustained public pressure. As Obama himself explained
while running for president, "Change does not happen from the top
down. It happens from the bottom up ... [People] arguing,
agitating, mobilizing, and ultimately forcing elected officials
to be accountable.... That's how we're going to bring about

What stronger incentive do we need than the terrible oil spill
that ravaged the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, just as this book was
going to press? As I write these words, a live video feed shows
the oil continuing to gush from BP's well some eighteen thousand
feet below sea level. BP is plainly guilty of one of the great
environmental crimes in history, but all of us who drive cars,
ride in airplanes, use plastic, or otherwise consume petroleum
products share the blame. The world's insatiable demand for oil
is the reason BP was drilling at such tremendous depths in the
first place. Extracting oil under those conditions is inherently
risky: prepare for more disasters if we as a civilization don't
leave oil behind soon. Since the earth seems to be reaching the
point of peak oil, all future production carries a risk of
similar catastrophes. Beyond the immediate necessity of plugging
the leaking well, the real solution to the BP oil disaster is
obvious: we must break our addiction to oil and instead embrace a
future of clean energy and green jobs.

And a final paradox: we must act immediately even as we take the
long view. Or, as Kevin Danaher, the cofounder and president of
Global Exchange, a San Francisco-based NGO, put it, "We must
learn to be good ancestors." Danaher, one of the world's leading
activists working on creating local green economies, made that
remark during a speech to a Green Festival conference in Italy in
2009. Visiting Florence, he had been struck by the beauty and
craftsmanship embodied in the city's main cathedral, the
incomparable black-and-white-stoned Duomo of Santa Maria del
Fiore. The dedication and long-term vision required to erect such
a structure during the Middle Ages was comparable, he told me, to
what he and other champions of the emerging green economy must
practice. "We are responsible for laying the foundations that
future generations will build on," he said, "somewhat like the
masons who laid the foundation layers of the European cathedrals
that took several centuries to complete. They knew they would not
live to see the final product of their work, but they also knew
they needed to do very solid, precise work because of all the
weight that was going to be placed on top of their work."

Being a good ancestor, said Danaher, means getting involved in
all aspects of building a greener world: political engagement,
grassroots economics, personal change. I would add that it also
means starting right away. We don't know everything necessary to
avoid the unmanageable and manage the unavoidable of climate
change, but we don't have to. As Ron Sims commented about his own
efforts in King County, our job is to begin, do the best we can,
and trust others to carry on after our work is done. This was the
guiding principle of the Renaissance geniuses who designed the
Duomo, Danaher pointed out. They deliberately built the cathedral
with a hole in the ceiling, awaiting the construction of a dome
that was not yet technologically feasible. "The confidence of the
Renaissance era was so great that they knew someone would come up
with a way to engineer the dome, and the architect Filippo
Brunelleschi did it," marveled Danaher, who added, "[R]egarding
our environmental situation on this little blue marble, I believe
a certain percentage of humanity will survive the coming
collapse, and it will be the local, sustainable green economy
that will be the base of that survival. If we can get the
foundations [of that economy] right, future generations will
figure out how to put the dome in place."

Mark has put aside a special edition with a special letter for
his daughter's 15 birthday. Hopefully she will not see this book
with it in till she is 15 in 2020, when he figures his book will
be long gone history and everyone will have forgotten about it.
That is usually the case, a life span of MAYBE 10 years on a
book, and then it is ancient history.

Well Mark if I'm here still plugging away on my website in 2010 I
will make sure my readers know about your book - I'll upload the
entire book to my website. Until then I'm hoping TEN OF THOUSANDS
will buy your book, especially local, state/province, and
National government leaders. They all need to read your book and
to put into practice the many things that can be done towards a
"green apollo."


No comments:

Post a Comment