Category Archives: Eco Warrior

Quit Obsessing About Climate Change? Does What You Do or Don’t Do Matter?

Hi everyone, I hope you had a fantastic summer filled with fun and adventure! Mine has been a blur of activity that’s included a few week-long shark tagging and marine science trips out in the Atlantic Ocean; a month long coastal geology expedition to Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada in which we studied everything from marine environments to glaciers; work as the Director of Sustainability for the new Miami Beach Pop Festival (wwww.miamibeachpop.com) and more. Much of the time during my travels I’ve not had internet or much in the way of cell service, but the lessons and experiences have been incredible.

School starts on Monday and I’ve been on campus a great deal in recent days getting ready for what will be a full semester (18 credits), in addition to my work here at The Sink or Swim Project, the Festival, our ongoing climate lawsuit and more. I have a few new blogs headed your way soon but with the arrival of my dear friend Richard Jacob’s own blog post today I hope you won’t mind my setting them aside in favor of sharing his newest, and certainly timely work entitled “Quit Obsessing About Climate Change? Does What You Do or Don’t Do Matter?” as a guest blog:

Hurricane-700x202

Glen Hendrix is a designer, writer, inventor, and entrepreneur. And he has a blog worth checking out.

In his A Timeline for Climate Change Hendrix points out the difficulty we have recognizing the effects of climate change because we lack historical comparisons. A scientist commenting on Hendrix’s blog suggests:

“It is because we are right at that instant where you have cracked an egg on a hot pan, and it’s not cooked yet because the heat from the pan has not transferred into the proteins in the egg to denature them. We are living the infinitesimally small second or two before the egg turns white. You are making an observation which is so difficult for people to understand and thank you for making it.”

I wasn’t too surprised when Hendrix followed up with another blog, “Quit Obsessing About Climate Change. What You Do or Don’t Do No Longer Matters.”

Hendrix starts out:

“Quit worrying about going vegan, or recycling, or riding a bicycle to work, or buying a Tesla instead of that Ford F-650 pickup you’ve always wanted in order to save the planet. You’re off the hook. It’s out of your hands. You can do these things if it makes you feel better, but they are not going to change the big picture. Whatever you do does not matter.”

He concludes:

“So tell your children you are sorry for what is going on with the climate, but it’s not their fault or yours. Tell them some bad people made it too hard to do anything until it was too late. Tell them you will vote for people that might help with the problem. Maybe if we elect the right leaders, and they do the right things there is still time.Tell them to study science and engineering so that someday they might help with a solution or figure out adaptations to deal with it. Or you can put that whole talk off for later. I won’t blame you. You are only human.”

________________

Hendrix’s comments about our obsessing were quite timely.

I had just received emails from three friends regarding climate change articles I had sent to them, including, A letter to my fellow boomers about climate change.

• One responded, “I am frightened.”
• Another, “It’s hard not to be discouraged. I don’t know what to advise my kids and grandkids about how to prepare themselves for the future.”
• The third, “My wife agrees we have environmental problems, but that it’s hopeless. I don’t agree and want to go down fighting to the end no matter the end. How do we deal with those who have given up hope?”

________________

We can accept Hendrix’s fatality. We can tell our offspring we’re sorry.

Many well-meaning people have accepted the fatality of our circumstances.

• Too many of us don’t vote since we are convinced our vote doesn’t matter, or there’s really no best of the worst choices. The result is that 29% of us who could vote elected the President for all 100% of us who could vote. And most of us agree that hasn’t been the best result.
• Many of my generation – our “senior” generation – are too willing to say: “We’re too old to worry because the worst won’t happen in our lifetimes.”

But I have trouble with that, with Hendrix’s conclusion:

“What You Do or Don’t Do No Longer Matters.”

That’s contrary to the message Jane Goodall gave us:

“What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

And it’s contrary to what Margaret Mead said:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Yes, we’d like to have leaders that would solve our problems; we’d like leaders who are inspiring, moral roll models for us all, not just conformations for extremists.

But necessary change doesn’t come from top down; it comes from the bottom up. It comes from folks like you and me. It comes from concerned young folks, like 16 year old 2019 Nobel Peace Price Nominee, Greta Thurnberg from Sweden, who told NBC News:

“Instead of worrying about how that future might turn out, I’m going to try to change that future while I still can.”

And from 19 year old Delaney Reynolds from Miami, who reminds us:

“My generation must decide whether we want our planet to sink or swim.”

Delaney, a star student at the University of Miami, is the lead plaintiff in Our Children’s Trust lawsuit, Reynolds vs. Florida.

Some three decades ago, Bruce Courtney wrote a book about these sorts difference makers: “The Power of One,” which became a great movie in the late 1990s. It’s still available on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Time.

The film closes with our hero challenging us:

“Changes can come from the power of many, but only when the many come together to form that which is invincible . . . The power of one.”

So, decide what kind of difference maker you want to be.

What you do or don’t do matters.

Choose. You can come together as part of the invincible POWER of ONE!

I Vote For Humanity

In my recent post, Business As Usual, I expressed frustration over how silent so many in the Republican Party are over the outrageous, incompetent and increasingly inhumane behavior that President Trump, Vice President Pence and their Administration are subjecting our country to every day of our lives.

Only days after that post we are faced with yet more dire examples of why our country is at a monumental cross roads and needs to decide whether the inhumane behavior that’s taking place while his fellow Republicans remain so often silent in a way that only condones what is happening is who America is or aspires to be. Are we not better than what we are watching and what Republicans far too often support with their silence? Are the offices they hold so selfishly important to them that they are afraid to speak up and take issue with the attacks on America’s foundational values that we witness every day and night these past two plus years?

report-shes-not-my-type-trump-denies-e-jean-carrolls-rape-allegations

Case in point: this week a reputable writer shared a story of rape in a department store dressing room by Mr. Trump. I’d think that an allegation of rape against a sitting President should concern all Americans, yet despite a picture showing the two of them together at a party his response that he’s never met the woman and that she’s “not my type” seems acceptable to Republicans given that only two in Congress have as of yet expressed any public concern. Where is the humanity and concern we should all have to determine if this serious allegation is true?

FD

Case in point: the horrific, vivid picture of a father and his young daughter washed up on the shore of a river on the Mexican/American border, having drowned while seeking the promise of freedom that America was founded on. Or for that matter, stories that are pouring out into the public domain about children being maliciously separated from their families, forced to sleep outside or without bedding or with the lights on all night in concentration camp type facilities. The immigration related atrocities just go on and on and none of it strikes me as humane or the way we Americans should want to treat our fellow man.

smkVx5dR-720Or case in point: the recent interview Vice President Pence gave about climate change in which he stated that there are “good scientists on both sides of the ‘debate'”.

First off, there is no longer any “debate” by unbiased and even slightly educated folks that our climate is warming and seas are rising, much less that it’s caused principally by man-made carbon dioxide from the fossil fuels we use. 98% of scientists agree on these facts.

Secondly, his comment about “good scientists on both sides” reminds me of his mentor, the President, saying that there were “good people on both sides” of a peaceful demonstration that turned deadly when white supremacists, key supporters apparently of Trump, Pence and the rest of the “R” crowd, invoked vile, racial mayhem that has rippled across America ever since. His words and the silence of nearly every Republican only served to condone what the racists did that day and because of their lack of action we see a growing element of that hatred building all over America. Surely that’s not who America is or aspires to be and become.

I realize that democracy is not always linear, nor painless. Progress ebbs and flows over time as our society and culture evolves, but I also know that many patriots have fought and died for our values. Many brave Americans have spoken up and out to make our country truly great.

For our freedoms.

For women’s rights.

For racial and gender equality.

For cherishing and protecting our environment so as to leave it in better shape for the next generation than the last.

There is a deep humanity in these achievements and their aspirations that defines who we, as Americans, are and who we want to become. But that humanity is lost everywhere I look within the Trump Administration and that loss seems to be growing like a cancer in need of a cure.

And so with our country beginning to contemplate our next Presidential election, starting in earnest with last night and tonight’s Democratic debates here in Miami, I hope that you will join me in seeking a cure and by supporting a change in our nation’s highest office before it’s too late. Consider your options starting tonight and spread the word to your friends and family.

Together we can fix the terrible mistake America made in 2016. And for my part, I vote for humanity in 2020 and will happily support anyone not named Donald Trump.

 

Why Things Are Different (& Better) Three Years Later

920x920

Two evenings in March of 2016 taught me much of what I ever needed to know about Presidential politics, as well as a few things I wish none of us had to ever learn. That spring provided our community and country an amazing opportunity to discuss what is easily the most important challenge that my generation will ever face during our time here on earth: our global climate crisis. That’s when both the Republican and Democratic Party each held nationally televised debates right here in Miami amongst the then six remaining candidates.

Climate change was, as it is today, on a great many people’s minds and yet the media and most of the candidates failed America in 2016. Over the course of those two nights and their four hours of nationally televised “debate”, the candidates spent just 9½ minutes discussing climate change. And what did the national media do to address the most important topic of our time? They asked just two questions, one each night. Talk about a “fail”.

The topic was so overlooked that on one of those nights the question on climate did not surface until 1½ hours into the two hour event. To say it was not a priority to the candidates or media is an understatement and was, in many ways, educational to my then 16 year old self. You can read more about those debates in a blog that I wrote at the time entitled 9½ Minutes by clicking here.

Screenshot (37)

Fast forward three years and three months later and we have a candidate, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee, who is largely running on one single topic: protecting our environment with a specific focus on our climate change crisis. Something tells me that the good Governor himself might just spend more than 9½ minutes on the topic later this week whether the journalists prompt him to or not.

We also now have the New Green Deal, a potentially transformational prospective plan to address our climate crisis that’s being embraced by many of the Democratic candidates.

And perhaps most importantly, each of the candidates, all 20 that will appear on television from Miami later this week, are openly and often even aggressively talking about their plans to address climate change. More than half of them have pledged to not accept money from fossil fuel businesses. All have created plans to address the issue.

In 2016 two candidates, Senator Cruz from oil rich Texas, and the man who shockingly became President, Donald Trump, unsurprisingly never even mentioned climate change. That can’t happen this or next year. At every debate, starting with this week’s two Democratic events here in Miami, the media must press the candidates to speak to the issue. Journalists and candidates have a moral obligation to my generation and all that shall follow to address this topic and make it the priority. Almost 100% of democratic voters believe that our climate change crisis is a matter of great importance to our country and, thus, I hope that NBC News, which is moderating, will act like it understands that people want to hear candidates address the issue. Rather than bury it deep into the night, how about we start each evening’s questions here in Miami by discussing climate change?

In the time since being elected, President Trump and his administration have done everything possible to embrace fossil fuel producers and polluters, roll back America’s Clean Power Plan, pull out of the Paris Climate Acord, tout “clean coal” (there is no such thing, it’s a lie) and diminish scientists and the science, including the Administration’s very own November 2018 National Climate Assessment that (once again) made clear that earth is warming and humans’ use of fossil fuels are the key cause. In places all over America, and especially here in South Florida, we no longer have room for such nonsense. We can’t allow Republicans to sell their souls and our future by supporting gas and coal in return for polluted votes. We must (and we can) elect leaders at all levels of our government that support the absolute elimination of fossil fuel use within my lifetime and, in doing so, transition our economy to sustainable energy. Time is running out.

The stakes over this issue are much greater than those votes in coal and gas rich states or, for that matter, the brief time one would hold an elected office. And, yes, even in those states that still rely on coal and gas, a future of clean, well-paying jobs in sustainable energy should be seen as part of the solution in regions that are often desperate for hope. And, of course, the very survival of places like where this week’s debates will actually be held (South Florida) is also at stake and we need to be discussing that before our region disappears under water to the point where future debates can’t be held here.

So come on NBC News and the 20 assembled candidates that will be in sunny South Florida this week, show us that things are different in 2019! Show us that you are truly serious about taking bold steps to solve our climate crisis and helping transform America. Dig deep and get away from the sound bites and prove that you understand what’s at stake as our climate warms. Voters are watching and this time we expect more than 9½ lousy minutes on the topic that defines our generation.

1 2 3 4 25