Hasta la Vista… Take action NOW for the climate crisis!
By the time you read this, I’ll be on my way to Lacey, WA, just outside Olympia. This is my last regular column for the Gazette, as I’m relocating to be near family.
Hard to leave and let go…
I’ve been living in Sonoma County since 1977, and I’ve been writing a column for this paper since 2006. Originally called “Mitzvah Moments,” it was about various aspects of social justice. I changed the name a few years ago, as the column concentrated more and more on what I’m now calling the Climate Crisis.
From Climate Change to Climate Emergency to Climate Crisis…
Or as someone recently said, “Climate Chaos.” During the years I’ve been writing about the climate, the situation has become more and more dire. When I went to the Climate March in NYC in 2014, workshop speakers, in the days before the march, told us that we had 30-40 years before the effects of “climate change” would become onerous. I traveled to NYC on the People’s Climate Train, with 171 other people, one-quarter of whom—including me—were over 60. We all agreed that personally we probably wouldn’t be affected, but that we were marching for our children and our grandchildren.
Then in 2018, the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report stated we had only 12 years. Now, we know that we actually have zero years. The Climate Crisis isn’t something far off; it’s here right now. All we have to do is look at the headlines — heat waves (even in the Arctic), sea-level rise, drought, hurricanes, and, here at home, devastating wildfires — to realize that the time to act is NOW. (Actually the time to act WAS many years ago when we were first warned and when the fossil-fuel companies’ own scientists told them what would happen if they kept pursuing the course they were on.)
So where do we go from here?
I’ve long advocated individual actions, that’s still vitally important. There’re so many little things we can do, but it’s no longer enough to just change our personal behavior.
The problem is too great and too grave for simply making individual change; we have to make institutional change and political change. When we join other people who’re also aware of the problem and willing to take action, we can make a difference. Just look at what one young woman, Greta Thunberg, put into motion just two years ago with the School Strike for Climate. Of course, right now most of us can’t take to the streets, but there’s still much we can do from home.
At all levels of government — local, county, state, and national, we must let our officials this situation is critical and urge them to action. Attend city council and board of supervisors’ meetings online — comment, too. [The Board normally holds its regular meetings on Tuesdays, beginning at 8:30 AM. ] Write letters and make phone calls urging action. Join one of the many groups working in this arena.
Video: Over the last year, the climate justice movement has changed the conversation on climate change. When Biden put his climate plan last fall we gave him an F-, but a lot has changed since then, including his climate plan. What’s in the updated plan? Watch and find out our take on green jobs, fracking, investment in frontline communities and more.
Locally, check out The Climate Center, Daily Acts, Sonoma County Conservation Action, and the Redwood Chapter of the Sierra Club, plus NorCal Elder’s Climate Action and Sunrise Movement, Sonoma Chapter — at different ends of the age spectrum. The Climate Center’s been having a series of very informative webinars, too.
Video: Climate Center’s webinar: Terea Macomber, Electric Vehicle Director, Grid Alternatives, and Woody Hastings, Energy Program Manager, The Climate Center discussed the challenges and opportunities in securing equitable, clean, and climate-safe transportation policies and infrastructure, with moderator, CEO Ellie Cohen.
Educating ourselves is critical; we need to do that first. When I started writing this column, there wasn’t much coverage of the climate crisis in the media. That’s radically changed, driven by the serious consequences of ignoring the situation. I’m always pleasantly surprised to find serious articles about the climate crisis in publications such as Business Insider, Forbes, USA Today, and even Harper’s Bazaar. I especially find The Guardian’s coverage of the climate emergency to be excellent. Access it online for free.
[The Guardian produced urgent, necessary reportage from major frontlines in the climate crisis – both the Arctic and Antarctic, the Amazon, the Sahara, and the devastating wildfires of Australia and the American west. We have closely covered the movements trying to bring about change such as Extinction Rebellion and the school climate strikes.
video: It was a historic day, and it’s just the beginning. 4 million people all over the world joined the youth-led call for climate action:
I also recommend anything suggested by Michael E. Mann, a leading climate scientist. Find reliable information on Facebook pages for Dr. Mann, Greta Thunberg, #YouGoGreta, and the Sunrise Movement. You might want to join me in “following” them.
Video: Environmental activists Greta Thunberg and George Monbiot have helped produce a short film highlighting the need to protect, restore and use nature to tackle the climate crisis. Living ecosystems like forests, mangroves, swamps and seabeds can pull enormous quantities of carbon from the air and store them safely, but natural climate solutions currently receive only 2% of the funding spent on cutting emissions.
Take Action NOW!
— Margaret Mead