This is a photo, courtesy of the New York Times, of 100,000 South Koreans demonstrating in the streets of Seoul on Tuesday.
What is so important to them that they turn out in such vast numbers? Impending war? No. Massive unemployment? No. Rising energy prices? Not even.
They demonstrated over the safety of their hamburgers.
After a scare over mad cow disease in American beef imports, they are concerned that insufficient measures have been taken to ensure that future imports will be safe. I know this may be painful for the American beef industry, but my point here is that the protesters' numbers are so large and their will so strong that Korean President Lee's entire cabinet has offered to resign.
Democracies belong to their citizens. Around the world, citizens take to the streets when their governments defy their will. Not so much in the United States. Can we change that?
After all, when it comes to making safe the habitat we depend on from global warming, special interests may have money on their side. But we have the people. And all that it would take to get the work done is show our representatives that we care.
Climate change may presently rank about tenth in voter concerns. But the League of Conservation Voters did a study that showed that, of 3,302 questions asked of the Presidential candidates by Sunday morning talk-show hosts, only eight of those questions centered on global warming (that's 0.2 percent, by the way).
I wonder how high on the agenda global warming would go if the press actually covered it? I believe there is more potential political will out there to do what's necessary than we suspect.
So, in no particular order, we need to figure out how to ensure that the cost of climate change measures will not fall on those who can least afford it, how to get more press attention for the issue, and how to show our Government that we care about the future of our habitat at least as much, say, as the South Koreans care about their hamburgers.
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.