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Youth Stepping It Up on Climate Action Day

by Captain Future Sun Nov 4th, 2007 at 06:40:39 AM EST

The National Day of Climate Action in the U.S. Saturday was the definition of a grassroots event. With practically no media coverage, or mention on even climate-related internet sites, thousands of people gathered in places large and small across the U.S., in large groups and small, for events associated with the Step It Up campaign for action on the Climate Crisis.

Though seniors were conspicuously present at many events, this is basically a youth movement, and though officeholders like Senator John Kerry attended events, the main speaker at one was eleven years old. These are young people addressing their future.

There are photos from everywhere at the Step It Up site, and I have a bunch on my blog, Captain Future's Dreaming Up Daily. Some people look kind of cold-- despite storms along the East Coast generated by Hurricane Noel, they turned out earlier today. More info and links follow the jump.

Also today, the Youth Climate Movement Power Shift convention began in DC. Here's their latest dispatch. Their activities continue through the weekend, climaxing in a "lobby day" on Monday, when they will attend hearings on pending climate bills and lobby members of Congress. (Here's the schedule.)

The Power Shift and Step It Up movements are coalescing around an agenda called 1Sky:

1. Mobilize America: 5 million green jobs conserving 20% of our energy by 2015. 2. Secure Our Future: freeze climate pollution levels now and cut at least 80% by 2050 and 30% by 2020. 3. Transform Our Energy Priorities: No new coal plants until they can safely dispose of climate pollution.

This common agenda has won some impressive endorsements, including well-known Climate Crisis voices like Bill McKibben and James Hansen but also Van Jones of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights, the Rev. Sally Bingham of the Regeneration Project and Inuit representative Sheila Watts-Cloutier. Organizations on board include the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, Climate Crisis Coalition and National Resources Defense Council, as well as Physicians for Social Responsibility and several religious groups.

With all the bad news concerning climate, it's important to highlight what people are trying to do to confront it.  As those of us who are or have been activists know, it's important to people's lives that they do what they can, and it's important to any possibility of effectively confronting this crisis that people stand up and call for action.  These things are important NOW, regardless of how effective they turn out to be in the unknown future.

Climate action day seems like a good idea. Did they discuss any proposals that would accomplish what needs to be accomplished? Or was it a festival for feeling good while doing nothing...

It seems to me that one of the biggest problems in the climate change what-do-we-do-about-it department is that there isn't a plan on paper anywhere to do what is actually required. Politicians who promise to clean something up by 2020 are obviously pandering. Nuclear whizzes and windmill advocates who want to just shift the problem to another sphere are off course. Solemn promises to do something that's going to happen anyway don't count.

What's missing is a serious proposal to take global action that would actually solve the problem. Unfortunately, no political system ever invented is going to be forward-looking enough to do it. I'm sorry to be so pessimistic on this topic, but I am convinced that we are going to continue to react too slowly.

by asdf on Sun Nov 4th, 2007 at 02:30:02 PM EST
I think if you read the diary and look at these sites you'd see that those involved are taking action, there are bills in Congress and they are lobbying on them, and there are detailed proposals.  There is no single or simple solution, as we all know.  I for one am heartened that young people in particular are focused on these problems, and are letting politicians know that they are.

It is a lot easier and safer to despair, and probably more realistic.  But there's no chance for much of a human future unless people try to create change.  

"The end of all intelligent analysis is to clear the way for synthesis." H.G. Wells "It's not dark yet, but it's getting there." Bob Dylan

by Captain Future (captainfuture is at sbcglobal dot net) on Sun Nov 4th, 2007 at 07:35:48 PM EST
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by Lasthorseman on Sun Nov 4th, 2007 at 08:34:41 PM EST
and the title is utterly false.

A rather simplistic dishing out of distorted half-truths. It's true that the post-WWII time is showing recorded cooling, and that since ~1800 the earth has been progressively warming, although there is plenty of debate whether the mini "ice age" and medieval warming were constrained to regional areas.

It's also true that paleo-temperature reconstructions suffer from multiple flaws and I personally lean to the opinion McIntyre is on the ball as the paleo-temperature crews he contests are dismally silent on the issues raised.

But these points are moot. Unless you want to argue CO2 is not a GHG, CO2 contributes at minimum to global temperature increase. To what scale it does is contested but the risks involved are not to be trifled with: we're pressing a pistol to the temple of a future generation while not knowing if there's a bullet in the chamber, but chances are larger and larger that there is.

The moment CO2 fluxes went beyond the natural state, it became an anthropological polluter which should be considered with an external cost attached, following the "polluter pays" principle.

by Nomad on Mon Nov 5th, 2007 at 04:29:46 AM EST
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