American Labor For Sustainability – Woo Hoo!

Mainstream America is coming to an understanding of the need to get behind efforts to clean up the planet.  The American labor movement has for some time supported expanding “green jobs” that will help create a cleaner, renewable energy economy and address global climate change.  Three unions recently took additional action and announced their support for the science-based targets called for by the IPCC to reduce greehouse gas emissions that cost us all, and future generations, far more than any savings offered (to anyone) by maintainining the status quo in our current fossil fuel based economy.  More on this story here: http://www.labor4sustainability.org/post/unions-call-for-science-based-reductions-in-greenhouse-gases/

Learning the issues and taking action to be for the right kinds of change, are legacy level leadership activities! Right on!

The Solar Race Is On – Now There’s a Developing Legacy to Get Behind!

Many of you know my personal legacy is devoted to environmental protection, conservation and support for the development of clean, renewable energy technologies. Now that folks seem to be getting the sense that global climate change is happening, addressing it is important and that it is economically and common sensically viable to do so (not only crucial to life as we know it on Earth), it seems the race to innovate and initiate new solutions is on.  Yea!!

From the Las Vegas Sun news online comes the story of the race between Nevada and Arizona to be the first to employ solar energy production and storage.

Imagine: what would the world be like if we all were racing to create better solutions, especially to environmental problems?  From my perspective, it would allow us to eventually get away from fossil fuel based energy production, which is important why?  Again, from where I live on the ocean it would stop us from killing the ocean and a crucial food chain all us Earthians depend on.  The ocean is not the vast resource we once thought, that we can treat as a giant dumping ground (and unfortunately have).  Between doing that and adding carbon to the atmosphere, which the ocean tries to help moderate by absorbing it and creating carbonic acid (H20 + CO2 = carbonic acid), not to mention unsustainable fishing practices, the ocean and its resources are dying. 

Here’s a picture of where we’re going if we don’t race to find solutions.  This is not just a scary story, we’re already actually on our way to this end:

Coral reefs and climate change, a message for Copenhagen from Earth Touch on Vimeo.

It was a video shown in Copenhagen as part of the effort to urge global solutions to climate change (of which the ocean acidification I mentioned is part).  Consider your children and grandchildren and the world they will inherit from the current generation if we don’t get behind efforts to change things for the better. 

Knowing this, what solution could you race toward as part of your consciously chosen life legacy?  Let us know how we can help you!

181 Investors Managing $13+Trillion Call For Strong Climate Change Action

Going into the United Nations Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, which begins this coming week, I am feeling a bit dismayed, despite the fact that more and more common sensical and educated folks (like the 181 investors referenced in the title) are displaying a willingness to come forward in the climate change discussion and call on world leaders to get a grip and begin to do something about it. 

I am dismayed because telling the truth seems to be such a hard thing to do – because people are afraid of what will happen if they do.  Yet, as we are taught (just maybe not taught well enough how to practice), honesty is still the best policy.  It lessens the need for “spin” and opens the door to debate – hopefully honest debate without conniving trickery.  Having practiced law, I can, unfortunately attest to the existence of both conniving tactics and trickery in what is supposed to be high level honest debate built on a foundation of professional integrity.  Anyone who reads or watches any news also knows that people often read and watch whatever supports their underlying beliefs and attempted assertions – rather than staying open to and dealing directly with the sometimes not so pleasant actual truth. 

I say all this because in the past couple weeks thousands of emails and files were hacked from scientists inside East Anglia University, the British keeper of global temperature records, revealing at best a fearful reluctance among them to reveal all their scientific data and their efforts to disguise data that give rise to questions about human caused global warming.  Presumably, they do such things to divert the attacks of critics – when it would just be better to put it out there and well … honestly debate.   See more on that story here. (The hackers, of course, are still unidentifed and at large, and following their actions have been others who have attempted to post outright false information online to persuade people further in their beliefs that there is no environmental problem going on and we should stop making such a potentially expensive fuss about it).

Genuinely concerned scientists and environmentally minded citizens like myself have recently had to divert their focused attention from environmental protection, to defending the need for environmental protection.  This is despite plenty of real evidence that humans have seriously degraded the planet – jeeze just go to your nearest water body and have a look at it: wanna swim in that?  how about taking a nice long drink? 

And why and how did we get here? It’s a result of fear – it always comes down to fear even if it parades as greed and arrogance – of telling the truth in the first instance. That results in back peddling, having to explain, being diverted from the real, important issues, and feeling like you have to justify.  And worse, having to work harder to get a clear message to people whose beliefs cause them to be grounded in denial and avoidance to begin with. 

Yet, the truth, however it comes out – and it generally does – eventually leads to some level of honest debate among truly open and concerned persons, even though spinmeisters know that creating diversions can delay that debate.  Hence the old saying “justice delayed is justice denied,” a problem that ultimately be avoided if we would just do a better job of practicing telling the truth and treating each other compassionately. 

And the truth is that pumping carbon in the form of carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gasses, in to our atmosphere IS a problem and it needs to be corrected.  Even scientists who criticize alleged “government by the few” or a handful of “elites” — like the members of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been called — conclude that hidden and hacked emails or not, global climate change (a lot more than mere “warming”) is still a problem.  It is not a matter of how much carbon based fossil fuel is left in the ground and how we can exploit every last drop.  It is a matter of whether we should continue to pump that carbon into the atmosphere and poison our planet – or begin to move, as rapidly as possible, into production of clean energy alternatives and more effective conservation efforts. 

Not surprising as a result of the East Anglia email hacking debacle, I heard a report on the radio this morning that some religious leaders have started speaking out against efforts to address climate change, claiming that our creator endowed us with an earth that is resilient.  I have no qualms with them.  But best I’ve been taught, our creator also gave us free will, and that free will may be causing serious harm and deterioration to this garden and paradise we were given in the form of the earth.  I agree the earth is resilient and will be just fine – what I question is what will happen to life on earth (humans and other species, which are so very threatened and disappearing at alarming rates as a result of humans’ exercise of free will).  While I don’t completely agree with George Carlin’s suggestions in his “The Planet is Fine” comedy sketch that we should do nothing to address it, I do agree with his underlying premise.  We may destroy our species and life on the planet as we know it, but the earth itself will be fine.  But I have serious questions about what will happen to ‘we the people’ — so many of whom are failing miserably at living up to being made in God’s image and likeness.

Yet, from the business world we have some enlightened leaders:  Ceres (pr. “series”), is a U.S. network of investors, environmental organizations and public interest groups with a stated mission to integrate sustainability into capital markets for the health of the planet and its people.  They recently reported some seriously good news:  the world’s largest group of global investors has issued a joint call for U.S. and international policy makers to take strong action to address global climate change.  

What a pleasant experience to find such enlightened leadership within the financial industry – which often takes a bad rap for greedily focusing on profit over anything else.  Head of one of the investment group members recognized publically that the human cost of inaction is unthinkable, and called for the development of sustainable business practices.  Just goes to show, there are reputable, high integrity professionals in all industries (even as there are those gripped by fear and acting badly …).

And from the religious world come some enlightened leaders, too, who see global climate change as a possible threat to peace.  Religions for Peace is the world’s largest and most representative multi-religious coalition. In September, the organization participated in the sixty-fourth session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.  Their purpose was to help promote a binding global climate deal at the UN Climate Change conference this next week.  Hallelujah!

The upside?  Dismayed or not, I can always find some good news.  I’m so grateful for that.

68% of Americans Know We Can Do This – And We Can! Now Tell Congress To Get It Done

Two fascinating bits of news I ran across today:

As reported in Solar Nation, 68% of people in this country believe that passing strong clean, renewable energy legislation to address climate change will result in new jobs (as opposed to job loss).  And why would investing in creating and developing new green technologies not result in new jobs?! 

This is great news because the Senate is currently deliberating the Waxman Markey climate change legislation that came out of the House of Representatives a couple months ago.  If you want to let your Senators know how you feel about the U.S. taking a global lead in reducing the use of fossil fuels and addressing climate change, you can easily find and contact them here.

The second piece of good news is of the we have the technology variety.  Well, so many of them, but this one is amazing.  This isn’t some pie in the sky notion – creating these new clean technologies.  We now have the Algeaus: the first car with a gasoline engine (as opposed to diesel engine as in bio-diesel), to cross the United States powered by fuel derived from algae.  This story is being told in a film called The Fuel Film a winner in the prestigious Sundance Film Festival.  And what a legacy story that is!! World changing in a big, positive way.  Take that big oil!

Remember photosynthesis?  The process by which plants take up carbon dioxide and, using sunlight, produce oxygen? Well algae can do it and produce fuel – more fuel than any crop based ethanol or other biofuel.  Take that big agriculture!!

More about the film and the car:

 
But there is more to know and do, so oh!, now maybe we can move some of our tax dollars being devoted to oil and corn subsidies and pass them along to the production of clean, renewable energy sources?! As a consistent form of support they can count on so the needed business infrastructures can be built around them?  The kind of leadership being shown by the developers of this news and these technologies is the kind we need in our government representatives – focused on a more positive future for us all and following generations.

That would be a significant impact and a great thing.

Recommendations From A Rocket Scientist

My own legacy includes a focus on my value for the preservation of nature.  There is currently legislation in the United States attempting to deal with global climate change – which is, in fact, happening; and which, whether you believe is caused by human activities, will only be solved by human activities.  Or rather changed behavior.

If you value the natural world, part of your developing legacy might be to regularly involve yourself in legislative issues affecting it and participating more actively in representative government. You don’t have to run for office to do this.  One way to do it is to become more informed and then making your views – concerns and recommendations for action – known.

There is legislation currently pending before the U.S. Congress dealing with climate change, H.R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, known as ACES.  What each of us with this legacy interest can do is learn more about it, AND ask our representatives to create meaningful law that benefits people and not special interests, better yet demand it. 

A list of important items to include in that law was compiled by Jim Hansen, himself an actual rocket scientist – someone who I’m sure knows a lot more about all this than I (and most people, including our legislators) do.  His latest views, concerns and recommendations were recently published at the Huffington Post blog.  He also wrote a very clear summary of what needs to be done at the first of 2009, published at the online magazine Grist.  Another source of good information is at 350.org

You can read the views of Hansen and others, and then use that information to write something to your congressional representatives.  Here are links to find where to write representatives in the U.S. Senate and House.

Go for it!  Be the change you want to see!!