There has been some coverage in the news about final release of the latest IPCC report, Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (PDF). Writing from Australia, where they know something about drought, the Big Gav hopes that the seriousness of the global condition finally will sink into the consciousness of the nation that far and away is the biggest contributor of carbon emissions.
Bringing all this home for US readers (where the lesson most needs to sink in), we recommend this article from the LA Times, where they lay out the regional implications, drawing on a corroborating study that was just published:- “The driest periods of the last century the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and the droughts of the 1950s may become the norm in the Southwest United States within decades because of global warming, according to a study released Thursday. The research suggests that the transformation may already be underway. Much of the region has been in a severe drought since 2000, which the study’s analysis of computer climate models shows as the beginning of a long dry period.”
Unfortunately, when the IPCC report was announced on U.S. national television, the spin was to point at the Chinese rather than any at-one-ment in our own House (much less on the other side of the cuckoo clock). Bill McKibben begins a recent article for the Christian Science Monitor with some very, very unfortunate news.
Earlier this month, a draft White House report was leaked to news outlets. The report, a year overdue to the United Nations, said that the United States would be producing almost 20 percent more greenhouse gases in 2020 than it had in 2000 and that the US contribution to global warming would be going up steadily, not sharply and steadily down, as scientists have made clear it must. (Editor’s Easter Egg)
That’s a pretty stunning piece of information — a hundred times more important than, say, the jittery Dow Jones Industrial Average that garnered a hundred times the attention. How is it even possible? How, faced with the largest crisis humans have yet created for themselves, have we simply continued with business as usual?
Which is why Bill McKibben, Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, and After Gutenberg want your participation in the April 14 Step It Up rally. The scholar in residence at Middlebury College and author of “Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future” notes that our push for more has left us with less of what really matters. The McKibben prescription could be summarized as a bumper sticker slogan of some popularity before there was even cell phones. The Slogan? Think Globally, Act Locally.
Climate change is the global issue to which many of us have been giving considerable thought now that we are in the 11th Hour, or however many minutes are left remaining on the (Stephen Hawking – Acid Etched – Ocean Theme) Doomsday Clock (Available Everywhere, Get Yours Today).
It’s clear humans have had a devastating impact on our planet’s ecological web of life. Because we’ve waited, because we’ve turned our backs on nature’s warning signs, and because our political and corporate leaders have consistently ignored the overwhelming scientific evidence, the challenges we face are that much more difficult. We are in the environmental age whether we like it or not. Leonardo DiCaprio
McKibben’s grassroots recommendations include strengthening local economies, establishing effective public transportation, and distributed generation from local renewable resources. Step It Up 2007 has organized a National Day of Climate Action on April 14. They’ve already scheduled more than 1,100 rallies in all fifty states – locations vary from the melting glacier on top of Mt. Rainier, to the levees in New Orleans, to underwater in an endangered coral reef off the coast of Florida, to your neighborhood park.
You can find the rally closest to your home, or if there isn’t one nearby, host one yourself by visiting:
Oh, the title bears (har-har) some elaboration, Sinking Titanic fans. In yet another remake of a 1970′s classic, instead of hippie types holding hands in a circle, you have suits marching in place in rows singing “This is the Sinking of the Age of Environment” and then they are covered by this drab gray parachute… Then the lights go out… But they don’t come back on.