A couple of days ago, I posted an invitation from environmental activists Bill McKibben and Wendell Berry to participate in the occupation of the Capital Power Plant in March. Some commenters on this blog responded favorably. Some were concerned.
Susan Och wrote:
Civil disobedience is supposed to be a last resort, after you have exhausted all other avenues. How many of us have actually written to all of our elected officials, talked to all of our friends and neighbors, written our letters to the editors, or done absolutely all we can to curb our use of energy?
Let me tell you my position: I will be there.
It's a scientific emergency, yes, but it's also a political emergency, because governments around the world are not taking the scientific emergency seriously enough. It's up to us--citizens who aren't used to getting involved in politics and activism--to give those governments a wake up call.
Read a memo from Betsy Taylor of 1Sky reporting on how the international response to the climate crisis at the recent climate change negotiations at Poznan is way too weak. Here's the highlight:
"It’s going to take a lot more than the bureaucratic and chaotic process I watched in Poznan over the past two weeks for us to cut global warming emissions as deeply and quickly as scientists say is necessary.
"I am not the only one who feels this way. Bill McKibben of 350.org, Al Gore, Dr. James Hansen, and most recently the Alliance of Small Island Nations (AOSIS) are all calling for deeper cuts in emissions and for public actions to turn things around. The path to a global deal in Copenhagen, just one year from now, will not be successful unless we have a louder, and more visible, bottom-up push for change. It’s time to get serious about mass mobilization."
"According to several sources, including leaders from the wind industry with whom I spoke directly, lobbying by the coal, cement, steel and fossil fuel companies was furious, relentless and ultimately overwhelming in the context of the European fiscal meltdown. According to a senior EU Commission official quoted in the Financial Times, “about 90% of European manufacturers would qualify for free carbon permits under the package.”
This deal won’t result in adequate CO2 reductions in the time we have. The last minute demands of the power plant and industrial sectors are a likely predictor of what we can expect in the States as groups battle for a strong climate bill in Congress. Lets face it, the U.S. fossil fuel lobby makes the European coal companies look like wimps.
A growing number of experts and governments insist we must adopt a target of 350 ppm or 1.5 degrees C as the threshold for safe emissions. Right now atmospheric concentrations of CO2 stand at 387 parts per million, increasing by about 2 parts per million each year. We need a more fundamental and fast turn away from fossil fuel.
Here's what you can do right now to push for transformational change:
- Become a Climate Precinct Captain and take things into your own hands by organizing locally: local.1sky.org. 1Sky has developed an online tool to facilitate a constant offline drumbeat of action in every Congressional district across the country. Once you sign up for the tool, get at least ten neighbors and friends to get involved with the 1Sky campaign. E-mail Ada@1sky.org with questions.
- Join us at the largest climate convergence in history - Power Shift '09 - or consider sponsoring someone else to attend. We need 10,000 people in Washington, D.C. screaming for change.
- Organize a 350 action for October 24, 2009 by signing on to 350.org and making sure that the world hears us loud and clear before next year’s Copenhagen summit.
As Betsy says, "This is not a time to just take advice from those of us in DC. It is time for every rabble rousing, child-loving, planet protecting person to get clear that we will not be okay unless we disrupt business as usual."
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.