Jan 24, 2020
by Tish Levee
While this means Sonoma County, I want to take a wider perspective. We need to love where we all live—this planet. If we really love it and if we love our children, we have to get really serious about saving it for the future. Already, we’ve lost so much of what we cherish. Because the losses’ve been incremental, we don’t always see them until some cataclysmic event such as the fires (followed by floods, hailstorms, and dust storms) in Australia. The horror down under just keeps getting worse, and it’s still summer there! NASA recently released a graphic video showing how much the planet has heated up just since 1880! See it at https://tinyurl.com/ws3m33j
On January 14th the Santa Rosa City Council unanimously passed a Climate Emergency Resolution modeled after the Regional Climate Protection Authority’s, with two amendments by Council member Chris Rodgers; one stated that, “addressing climate change underscores everything we do,” committing the city to being carbon neutral (zero greenhouse gas emissions) by 2030, and requiring the city to develop a public tracker, regularly updated, of progress towards this goal. His second amendment requires the Climate Action Subcommittee to review specific actions to meet and achieve these goals, giving consideration to the List of Actions submitted by the community-led Santa Rosa Climate Emergency Resolution group.
Santa Rosa joins Cloverdale, Cotati, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Windsor, and Sonoma County in declaring a climate emergency. Such resolutions have been declared in 1318 local jurisdictions in 25 countries, representing over 800 million people.
As I write this, Greta Thunberg just finished addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Although a key topic at Davos, a survey of CEOs released this week showed that climate change wasn’t even in the top ten threats seen to business growth.
Greta pulled no punches with the elite attendees, telling them all investments in fossil fuel extraction and all subsidies for coal, oil, and gas had to end, and all companies, banks, institutions, and government had to divest from all fossil fuels—“not by 2050, or by 2030, or even by 2021, but NOW.… Our house is still on fire,” she concluded. “What will you tell your children?…It seemed so bad for our economy we didn’t even try. “
Recently bloomberg (not considered a radical source), reported a study of 143 countries that generate more than 99% of all greenhouse gas emissions, which found the upfront costs of $73 trillion to phase out fossil fuels and run the entire world on clean energy would be offset by savings of $11 trillion a year, so that it would pay for itself in under seven years. While even advocates of such a plan (the GREEN New Deal for instance) agree that the technology to do this without jeopardizing reliability is not wholly available, it’s rapidly becoming so. We need to start moving in this direction NOW! We need to STOP all emissions now, not just lower them.
At 17, Greta is doing the things I wish I had known enough to do, and had the courage to do, years ago. If all of us could’ve been more like her and her young colleagues, we might not be in such a dire climate crisis (or as Greta has said, “climate catastrophe”). The Friday before Davos, she joined 15,000 climate strikers (over 10% of the local population) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Just 74 weeks after she first sat alone outside the Swedish Parliament with her sign saying, “School Strike for Climate” in Swedish, over 13 million strikers in 228 countries have followed her lead. She’s been to climate rallies all over Europe, the US, and Canada, traveling without flying. I just read her first book in English, No One is Too Small to Make a Difference, with 16 of her speeches at climate rallies and to world leaders. The public library has it; it’s a quick but great read.
Join Fridays for Future in a huge 3-day global climate strike, April 22nd-24th, for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day . See https://www.fridaysforfuture.org.
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