It is Sunday 8th November 2020. Joe Biden’s success in the American Election has been announced. The writer’s paralysis I have experienced during the past few weeks is starting to heal. Now, with some relief. I feel I can share my thoughts and reflections of the past tense pre-election weeks.
Never before had I invested so much of my emotional energy in an election. Whilst I look forward to the change with some cautious optimism, what a pity the present occupant of the White House has vowed that he is not going to leave without a challenge. This position he has taken up despite the flimsiest of legal claims he can muster to justify retaining his present status.
Making Sense of Our Times
Christiana Figueres is a Costa Rican diplomat who helped to promote the historic Paris Agreement of 2015. She eloquently describes the accelerating climate emergency. How this is the deciding decade to ensure that we do not condemn our children and their descendants to a world that is increasingly uninhabitable.
“We can, however,” she says, “cut our greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next 10 years ensuring our cities remain green, our supply of food remains stable and equitable living standards are generated throughout the world.”
“This ambition is daunting because we have procrastinated way too long. We now have one last chance to truly change course. It is the decisive decade in the history of humankind. That may sound like an exaggeration, but I am convinced of this truth. If we continue on present path of carbon emissions, we condemn our children and their descendants to a planet unable to sustain their needs. They will live in a world with exponentially growing levels of disease, famine, conflict, and irreversible ecosystem failures,” she continued
Fire Drill Fridays
Another woman with whom I can identify is Jane Fonda, who at the age of 82 has initiated Fire Drill Fridays. Each week on Capitol Hill, Washington. Fonda demonstrates, together with a variety of activists, to pressurise the government to espouse legislation which will help to reduce carbon emissions. “The climate crisis is not an isolated issue,” she says, “it involves every part of our economy and society.”
“Because of that, each weekly demonstration has a different focus. Scientists, movement leaders, experts, activists, Indigenous leaders, community members and youth come together to share their stories and demand that action be taken before it’s too late.”
Despite having been arrested for “crowding, obstructing or incommoding.” she has not curtailed her weekly demonstrations.
How happy I am that Joe Biden has confirmed that on the first day of his inauguration, he will bring America once more in compliance with the Paris Agreement. (And, or course, that he is the president for All Americans.)
I do believe that it is essential to limit carbon emissions right now. Further delay will cause permanent damage to the earth’s atmosphere. The use of oil, gas and coal for the production of power, needs to be rapidly replaced by solar and wind installations.
The Personal and the Political
I was personally challenged this week by a friend who had played a very positive role in my life last year. Whilst Johannes had during 2019 spoken out and supported me around some contentious personal issues, I had not been in touch with him this year since the outbreak of the pandemic. My espousal of the movement around climate change and its numerous manifestations was new to him.
Our conversation rapidly became confrontational, as he expressed his opinions around ‘climate denialism.’ I was prepared to drop the topic of conversation. I realised I was not going to influence a man with his views, who was additionally a Trump supporter. But then Johannes challenged me. “OK,” he said, you send me 6 references supporting the negative effects of the warming planet, and I will send you 12 references debunking them!”
Of course, I had to accept the challenge. This is what I found. Googling “97% agreement of Climate Scientists” led me to this impressive link To clinch the deal, you might like to follow up with this list: A list of World Wide Scientific Organisations It may be redundant to report that I have had no response since sharing this information with my challenger.
Would you like to volunteer?
I am feeling a strong need to make changes in my lifestyle to incorporate this new reality. There is so much personal and public work which needs to be done. Is there any one among the readers with similar urges to contribute to this important, immanent and challenging work? You are welcome to contact me with their thoughts and ideas around a joint venture! There is a form at the bottom of this page which allows you to communicate with me!
I was born into the Second World War, a war which had a devastating effect on the world economy. Some revolutionary post-war thinking initiated schemes like The Marshall Plan. The success of this initiative resulted in the the two generations following this event, were able to enjoy a higher standard of living than their parents. This trend has subsequently diminished and my offspring will probably need to be satisfied with fewer possessions, travel more sparingly, and develop a taste for locally produced rather than imported food.
We know that the way things have been done during the past seven decades will not be maintained in the 21st Century. There will be more hurricanes, floods, droughts and rising seas if we continue this lifestyle which is dependent on massive emissions of carbon. We need to transition to living more modestly and more sustainably. Recent climate events show that now is a time of an urgent transition. These changes can now longer be postponed. We are all needing to participate in the transformation.
We need to move into a pattern of living which is compatible with the natural reserves of our home planet.