Wednesday, June 25, 2008
There’s an old joke that most of us baby boomers first heard when we were kids. Here’s the version I remember hearing in New Jersey:
A man goes on vacation and his brother agrees to housesit for him — feeding the cat, picking up the newspapers and mail, watering the plants, etc. After the first week goes by the vacationing brother phones to check in.
“I’m sorry bro,” his brother at the house tells him almost immediately, “but your cat died.”
“What!? What do you mean my cat died?! How could you tell me like this? What kind of insensitive creep are you!? You need to prepare someone for a shock like that!” exclaims the vacationing brother.
“How was I supposed to prepare you?” asks the man.
“Well,” says the brother, “first you should have told me, the cat is on the roof. Then you should have said, but don’t worry, we’re calling the fire department. Then the next time I called in to check you should have said, the fire department was doing everything it could and not to worry.
Then the next time I called you could tell me that the cat had fallen, but not to worry — the vet was doing everything she could to resuscitate him. Then, finally, after all that, you could have told me, my cat had died. That’s how you break news like that.”
“You’re right, bro, I’m sorry. I should have been more sensitive first,” said the housesitting brother, who really did feel bad about it at this point.
His vacationing brother on the phone was quickly forgiving, “That’s okay. I understand. So anyway, how’s everything else? How’s mom doing?”
“Mom?” says the man, “Mom is on the roof….”
Guess what? Right now, here in 2008 the cat is on the roof for global warming.
If that’s too Al a Gore-ical for you then understand this – we have already reached the emergency landing point of our flight. That tipping point you’ve been hearing about? It’s here.
James Hansen, director of the Goddard Institute of Space Sciences who is sometimes called the godfather of global warming science, told The Associated Press Monday.
Is that clear enough for you? Are you getting the sense of urgency? Still think you’ve got your priorities in order?
You’d think news like this would be big enough to dominate the cable news networks for at least a few days like say a kid who fell down a well. You’d be wrong. The death of Tim Russert is apparently a much bigger story than the death of the planet. Who knew?
said Dr. Hansen this same week testifying to Congress and that’s not all he said.
Dr. Hansen is giving us 12 months to get our act together:
“The next President and Congress must define a course next year in which the United States exerts leadership commensurate with our responsibility for the present dangerous situation. Otherwise it will become impractical to constrain atmospheric carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas produced in burning fossil fuels, to a level that prevents the climate system from passing tipping points that lead to disastrous climate changes that spiral dynamically out of humanity’s control.”
Dr. Hansen goes on to say:
“The disturbing conclusion, documented in a paper I have written with several of the world’s leading climate experts, is that the safe level of atmospheric carbon dioxide is no more than 350 ppm (parts per million) and it may be less. Carbon dioxide amount is already 385 ppm and rising about 2 ppm per year.”
The world’s climatologists have already offered undisputed evidence of irreversible punishments to come, including huge risings of sea levels and massive changes in rainfall patterns, among them. If you’re feeling the impact of today’s $5 a gallon gas and rising food prices and worried about the dropping equity in your home then wait till you see what’s coming in your immediate future. You don’t need to be physic to know that these are slated to be the good old days that you will wistfully pine for just a few years from now.
Your Creative Greenius isn’t trying to scare you so much as I am trying to slap you hard across your face -a la Cher to Nicholas cage in Moonstuck – and help you to “Snap out of it!” You don’t have the time or luxury to wait for someone else to come to the rescue. You need to strap it on and report for duty. YOU are the one you’ve been waiting for. But you better not be too patient with yourself because we don’t have time for you to put on your makeup and get ready.
Let me help you with the perspective here… that terrorist threat from Al Queda and all the other terrorist groups in the world? It’s less than a pimple on a flea compared to the reality of the global warming risk we’re facing today. That killer earthquake California has coming that’s long over due? A short jog through the park compared to what our retirement years and the rest of century will be like. don’t be looking for FEMA to bail you out.
So what steps should you take right now? How can you possibly make any kind of difference? Just what the hell is the Creative Greenius trying to motivate you into doing?
TUNE IN – Get up to speed on what’s really going on and stop pretending it’s all going to be okay without you – it won’t. You’ve got to make the time and do your homework. This is a pass fail class and you won’t like the consequences of getting an F.
TURN ON – Turn your friends, your family, your co-workers, your neighbors, anyone that pays attention to you to what’s really going on and your concern about it.
PLUG IN – make your next car a plug in electric car and plug it into the new solar panels you need to get. You’ll have free fuel for life for your new clean burning electric car, you’ll end your dependence on gasoline of any kind and you’ll stop pumping more C02 into the atmosphere. You’ll also be finished forever with things like oil changes, tune ups, new air filters and the other maintenance that isn’t necessary with electric cars. So far GM, Toyota, Nissan, VW, Mitsubishi, have all announced plug in vehicles they will have for sale in 2010. That’s 18 months away. So don’t buy another car until you can go electric.
POWER ON– Once you see how well today’s solar panels work at making electricity you’re going to want to make ALL your electricity that way – especially since your electric rates are going to start doubling soon and then keep going up from there. You’ll be especially happy you made that switch when the energy shortages to come cause rolling blackouts for those reliant on the power companies.
ACT ACCORDINGLY – Stop wasting so much time mindlessly watching television, playing video games and going to Las Vegas. Stop pretending and sticking your head in the sand – you’re only exposing a large target when you do that. Start devoting some of that time to working with other individuals and groups who are dedicated to cutting carbon to levels we can live with. And start speaking up and speaking out against patently stupid and dangerous ideas like drilling for more oil domestically or using our abundant coal resources. Those are the killer carbons that caused this mess which we need to stop using now. Walk the walk why don’t you?
ENJOY YOURSELF, IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK! – Enjoy yourself while you’re still in the pink. The years go by as quickly as a wink Enjoy yourself, enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think
Lets face it, no matter what happens you’ve got to live and love and laugh. With the odds stacked against us the way they are, it’s easy for you to conclude we’re already doomed and that the best response is to just party like it’s 1999 and use it before you lose it. I wouldn’t blame you if you did. Just do it mindfully, fully aware, with your eyes open. Please have the courage and honesty to say you looked at the situation and decided to stick a fork in us because we’re already done. Feel free to explain that one to the kids too and let me know how that works out for you.
Polar scientists reveal dramatic new evidence of climate change It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year. The disappearance of the Arctic sea ice, making it possible to reach the Pole sailing in a boat through open water, would be one of the most dramatic – and worrying – examples of the impact of global warming on the planet. Scientists say the ice at 90 degrees north may well have melted away by the summer.
And finally, just to masterfully connect all the dots for you in a way only the most conservative print publication can. In case you thought this was just the rant of a crazy environmentalist.
“Concluding that climate change will have wide-ranging impacts on U.S. security in the coming decades, a classified report complicates an already tangled debate by providing urgent new reasons to address the problem of global warming at a time when American voters are anxious about $4-a-gallon gas. Do something to lower gas prices, and you might exacerbate warming and, potentially, terrorism. Assist in the fight against global warming and risk economic hardship.
There’s a reason it takes a Creative Greenius like me to tackle this issue, but tackle it I am doing with renewed energy and a loud ticking clock reverberating in my brain when I‘m trying to think about the Lakers or organizing my digital photos.
Meanwhile I invite you one and all to get on board the Cluetrain with me and ride the rails to a much better way of life.
Your first stop is clicking on all the links I have throughout this declaration of independence and getting your ticket punched.