At first, I was saddened and frustrated. Then, as always happens when sadness and frustration aren’t dealt with, I turned to anger. Perhaps the anger is most useful right now. Perhaps we should all be angry enough to take action.
There have been many international conferences on climate change over the last couple of decades. There have been warnings from scientists and environmentalists for longer than that. We (humanity) are still at it: destroying our ecosphere as quickly as we can.
It seems as though our powers (governments) should take steps to solve the problem, telling us what to do and making laws about it if necessary. However, what should be and what is do not coincide here.
Starting with the UN Framework Conversation on Climate Change in 1992, and continuing with the Kyoto Protocol in 1997 (which the U.S. refused to sign, and other nations are not upholding), the UN Copenhagen Talks in 2009, the UN Climate Change Talks in 2011, and now the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (June 2012), our governing bodies are doing very little. These conferences largely yield an agreement that further talks should be held within the next few years. Not very useful as small island nations prepare to find other land to settle on once their countries become untenable and Boston begins to prepare itself for the flood.
Meanwhile, the ice caps are melting, habitats are being destroyed, extreme geologic events are on the increase, and the seas are rising. In his Boston Globe article of June 25, 2012, David Abel reports that the ocean (from North Carolina up through New England—yes, including Boston) is rising 3-4 times faster than the global average. We will deal with climate change by choice now, or by catastrophic necessity later.
Let’s encourage our respective governments to take action, knowing that is not historically shown to be likely. And let’s take action ourselves. There is where the difference will have to be made. We have to use our votes, our consumer power, and our voices to make change before it’s too late.
Can we get angry enough to stop the human activities largely responsible for climate change? I hope so. Working small and local, at our own spot on Earth, we have to keep the big picture before us: biological life on earth is in danger, some effects of our activities are too late to stop, others will come and be even more dire. Our many personal possessions and prosperous businesses won’t mean much when food and water become scarce, will they?
Write us with your perceptions. This is a place to sound off decisively. You’ll be preaching to the choir, more or less, but you don’t know when something you say will inspire someone else to actually do something more than just get sad and frustrated.