Birthing the World We Want

That Was Then

It’s record hot everywhere,” I heard a guy say as I was sitting under a tree outside of a café in Pagosa Springs, Colorado in late July. His son–maybe seven years old– replied,

“Yeah, if it’s this hot now, imagine what it will be like in 30 years. You’re lucky. Your generation screwed it up and we are the ones who have to live with the future.”

The child and his mother continued with a discussion about climate solutions, but the little boy was pretty angry and having nothing of her optimism. His mom told him not to give up.

It isn’t quite fair to blame dad and mom for climate disruption. After all, climate scientists have been warning every administration since LBJ in 1965.  But, this young boy makes a good point in questioning what his future might look like. With so much inertia in the climate system, we can expect warming to continue for decades after we shut off the emission pipeline.

skeeze / Pixabay

The New Normal?

A few days after overhearing the young family’s conversation, we were in Glenwood Springs, Colorado. Now, we could see and smell the smoke from fires in California; about 1000 miles away. We topped off that evening with a visit to the ER because my son was dehydrated and vomiting, a consequence of too much time in the heat with not enough water. Welcome to the new norm of summer vacation.

After vacation, I had a conversation with my friend who lives in Los Angeles. Her birthday was July 6th. I asked her about the celebration. “It was 118˚ F, so we basically stayed in the house where we had air conditioning,” she told me. Later, as I was leafing through my new Climate Reality slideshow deck, I let her know that Al Gore memorialized her birthday heat record on a slide. “That is both bizarre and scary,” she responded.

This is NOW

I wrote the above about six weeks ago. In climate disaster terms, that’s ancient news. I could really construct a new Al Gore-like slideshow presentation out of my Facebook news feed every week with all the new unprecedented disasters. And just this week, we’ve got a new IPPC report telling us that we are have to make serious changes NOW.

 

 

And, hold on— hurricanes—yes, I almost forgot the hurricanes—remember when Al Gore got so much criticism for saying that climate change fueled hurricanes in the first An Inconvenient Truth? In the last month, we’ve seen Florence, Michael, and now Leslie. Leslie is poised to be the first hurricane to hit Portugal. Take that deniers. Alas, there is no joy in getting it right on climate.

Change Happens

Welcome to the new climate normal. Guess what: it won’t last long. Are we at the precipice of hell? Well, maybe.

But in life, sometimes, you need to be able to look at the abyss, and hurl yourself into it head first in order to get to the other—hopefully better place. Change always comes; you will never stop it. How you navigate change makes the difference.

Think about this. On one hand, there is a world devolving in front of you. We are now operating outside of the climate envelope that our civilization was constructed under. What does that mean? It means lots more unprecedented storms, fires, disasters, disease, suffering, and death. So, we either ride the wave and try to weather it—even though we aren’t really equipped to do so. It’s kind of like taking an umbrella into a hurricane and expecting to protect yourself.

You Are A Change-Agent

Or …we all work for something better and more resilient. We build local communities and local food networks. We get to know our neighbors. We create new industries that are resilient and renewable, and that provide good paying jobs. We eat less meat. We plant trees and sequester carbon in soils. We tax carbon. We innovate. We invest in infrastructure and public transit. We plant victory gardens. We buy less stuff. We ride bikes. We end food waste. We hang dry our clothes. We insulate our homes. We vote for climate action candidates. We champion climate policy based on science. We stop complaining. We embrace kindness and civility again. We disentangle ourselves from fake memes. We believe in our own power.

We Birth the World We Want.

I don’t know about you, but the second scenario sounds a whole lot better to me. Tag- You’re it. Let’s get started.NOW.


From the BBC: Five steps to 1.5
  1. Global emissions of CO2 need to decline by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030
  2. Renewables are estimated to provide up to 85% of global electricity by 2050
  3. Coal is expected to reduce to close to zero
  4. Up to seven million sq km of land will be needed for energy crops (a bit less than the size of Australia)
  5. Global net zero emissions by 2050

 


Project Drawdown ranks the 100 most impactful solutions to U-turn global warming.

IPCC: link to reports and summary for policymakers

Earth Day: Love Yourself- Love Your Mother


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We need to realize that the conditions that will help to restore the necessary balance don’t come from outside us; they come from inside us, from our own mindfulness, our own level of

Lessons Learned from Hurricanes & Connecting Climate Dots

 

When I left Florida five years ago, hurricanes weren’t high on my list of reasons why. It was more the rat race; the traffic, the cost of living, the apathy, and oh yeah, no more hurricanes.

Living in South Florida for over twenty years, I’d seen a lot of hurricanes. Most notably was Hurricane Andrew, a cat… Continue reading

Are Catastrophic Weather Events the New Normal?

 

There are a lot of words being used to describe Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath; unprecedented, historic, catastrophic, one-in-500, one-in-1000, costliest natural disaster in US history. You get the idea; Harvey’s devastation was massive and on a scale that is hard to wrap our brains around.

I even heard one stat that said we’ve had 10 1/1000… Continue reading

Before the Flood, Getting Out of Florida

 

I spoke with my friend Robin this week. Robin lives in Miami Shores, a mostly upper-middle class neighborhood located in Miami Dade county. It’s near the causeway that takes you to the beach. Robin was born on Miami Beach; she’s a native.

On our call, Robin recounted a conversation she recently had with a friend who lives on… Continue reading

My Grandfather was a Coal Miner

My Grandfather Was a Coal Miner

My grandfather, “Sam”, immigrated to America from southern Italy in the early 1900s. He served in the US Army during the first world war. My mom remembers him putting on his best suit and walking for miles to cast his vote on election day. He loved his adopted homeland.

Back in his mountain origin of Bocchigliero, he was a… Continue reading

A Fool with a Plan Can Beat a Genius with No Plan

A Fool With A Plan

It was late 2008 and everyone in the room laughed as billionaire T. Boone Pickens retold this story from his college years. His father, concerned with Boone’s lack of direction in choosing a major told him;
“Listen son, a fool with a plan can beat a genius with no plan. And your mother and I have a concern that

The Anthropocene and the Fierce Urgency of Now

“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action.”   — Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s About Saving Ourselves

change“There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” Victor Hugo

Lately, people have been emphasizing that the climate movement is really about saving ourselves.

Yes, I agree.  The problem is with humanity; it’s a crisis of consciousness.

The symptoms  of this problem are… Continue reading

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