I say it often on Facebook and in my Twitter feed:  Global Warming/Climate Change is THE most important moral issue of our day.  Climate Change is causing massive changes in the earth’s ability to feed the human population.  It’s not just an issue of “can the earth support our life-style.”  It’s a issue of “can the earth continue to feed us?”  The answer is, “NO, not unless we stop global climate change now.”

On August 4, my high school friend and climate activist Bill McKibben wrote an article calling us to action.  He outlines “Three Steps to Establish a Politics of Global Warming” in the United States.  We need to TAKE ACTION!

I encourage you to read the whole thing here.  Below is a summary of it.

Bill starts off by inviting us:  “Try to fit these facts together:”

  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the planet has just come through the warmest decade, the warmest 12 months, the warmest six months, and the warmest April, May, and June on record.
  • A “staggering” new study from Canadian researchers has shown that warmer seawater has reduced phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain, by 40% since 1950.
  • Nine nations have so far set their all-time temperature records in 2010, including Russia (111 degrees), Niger (118), Sudan (121), Saudi Arabia and Iraq (126 apiece), and Pakistan, which also set the new all-time Asia record in May: a hair under 130 degrees. I can turn my oven to 130 degrees.
  • And then, in late July, the U.S. Senate decided to do exactly nothing about climate change. They didn’t do less than they could have — they did nothing, preserving a perfect two-decade bipartisan record of no action. Senate majority leader Harry Reid decided not even to schedule a vote on legislation that would have capped carbon emissions.

Bill outlines three steps we need to take.

Step one involves “actually talking about global warming.” Bill points out that other language may test well in focus groups (‘energy independence’ and ‘green jobs’), but we have to talk about the fact that things are getting warmer.  “It is the heat, and also the humidity.  Since warm air holds more water than cold, the atmosphere is about 5% moister than it was 40 years ago, which explains the freak downpours that seem to happen someplace on this continent every few days.”

“Step two, we have to ask for what we actually need, not what we calculate we might possibly be able to get.”  To combat climate change, we need to stop dumping carbon into the atmosphere.  “We need a stiff price on carbon, set by the scientific understanding that we can’t still be burning black rocks a couple of decades hence.”

Step three:  Build a movement.  “For 20 years environmentalists have operated on the notion that we’d get action if we simply had scientists explain to politicians and CEOs that our current ways were ending the Holocene, the current geological epoch. That turns out, quite conclusively, not to work. We need to be able to explain that their current ways will end something they actually care about, i.e. their careers. And since we’ll never have the cash to compete with Exxon, we better work in the currencies we can muster: bodies, spirit, passion.”

That’s where 10/10/10 come in.  10/10/10 is the date set by 350.org as a global work party.  On that day, people all around the world are getting together to do some project to demonstrate our resolve to fix the global climate crisis.  The goal of the day is not to solve the climate crisis one project at a time, but to send a pointed political message:  if we can get to work, you can get to work too—on the legislation and the treaties that will make all our work easier in the long run.

Read Bill’s article, then go to 350.org and sign up for (or organize) a work party near you.

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