Welcome again to the Good Morning America and Nightline viewers who are still finding their way here for the first time. You've come by just as I finish a series of three posts on climate change and what to do about it.
Yesterday I wrote about how we can all help reduce climate change by driving less, flying less and using less power. But when I talked to environmentalist Bill McKibben on the phone last weekend, he added that “If you want to have a real impact on the climate problem, after you screw in your new compact fluorescent light bulbs, you should also see if you should screw in a new congressman.”
What Bill meant is that none of us can, for example, get a mass transit system built—which would decrease driving and its carbon emissions—through individual action. Nor can any one person force the automobile industry to increase gas efficiency. On the other hand, we can get together and join forces and show the Congress, mayors, governors, city councilors and other elected officials that we care about climate change so they will take these actions on our behalf.
Now, I’m not saying we need to vote for any particular party. Protecting the environment is neither a Republican nor Democratic issue. After all, one of the current bills intended to cap greenhouse gasses in the Senate is cosponsored by both Democratic and Republican candidates for President—Barack Obama and John McCain. The trick is for those of us who care about climate change—both Republicans and Democrats—to choose representatives from our respective parties who put the environment at the top of the agenda.
Questions to ask about your city, state and national candidates to ensure that they take climate change seriously:
- Do you support an 80 percent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 (to read why this is important, go here)?
- Are you willing to support a moratorium on building coal burning electricity plants to support that goal?
- Do you support a 40 miles per gallon standard for cars in the near future?
- Would you fund alternative energy projects?
- How else do you see our moving toward the 80 percent cut?
Another good idea is to write to your congressman to tell him and her that these issues are important to you. For a good guide on writing to your congressman and asking for action on climate change, click here and scroll down.
Since my TV appearances yesterday, I’ve been barraged with another bout of emails asking about toilet paper alternatives. I don’t, as my regular readers know, discuss my toilet habits. A boy has got to keep some secrets. But I understand your fascination, so here is an article on an alternative to TP.
Colin Beavan (that's me!) is now leading a conversation about finding a happy, helpful life at Colinbeavan.com. If you want to know how people are breaking out and and finding authentic, meaningful lives that help our world, check it out the blog here and sign up to join the conversation here.