FACING a Climate in Crisis
WE ARE in trouble. The earth is warming. Climate is changing. The impacts are becoming increasingly devastating.*° So the focus of my music and mission are changing as well.
Many of us, it appears, are aware of this existential crisis but continue living, as Thoreau noted, in a state of quiet desperation—which is understandable. Climate change is both overwhelming and extremely subtle. While the causes we are creating by “living well” are everywhere and increasing, most consequences remain 99.9 percent abstract. CO2, the main driver, is invisible: you can’t see it, taste it, smell it or feel it.
We are not wired for this kind of threat. There is no saber tooth tiger growling behind a bush. Birds don’t fall dead from trees when we start our cars. The sky isn’t filled with gashes oozing toxins. And when effects do manifest—in killer storms, floods, fires or droughts—our attention naturally turns to recovery, not analyzing and resolving the unseen underlying causes.
Yet we must act together or perish together. So my mission is shifting to include encouraging personal engagement and even activism.
I am not a natural activist. Nor a leader or organizer. Wish I was, but I’m not. What I excel at is living quietly, spending my days in my little studio writing, designing and making music. But now those days are disintegrating before my eyes. And, I cannot not see what I now see. So I’m taking actions that work for me. I hope that if you are not currently involved, you will be inspired to do the same.
FINDING Your Place to Make a Difference
IF YOU HAVE not yet engaged, there are many great choices available: secular, faith-based, educational, informational, activist. You only need to find one. And you only need to offer what you enjoy doing. There is a place for you if you’re willing to find it. Look at the list. Click on the links of those that appeal to you. Then pick one. Doesn’t matter which one. Just do it.
Annotated list of climate change organizations:
- 350.org: The largest grassroots international group dedicated to educating, organizing and collaborating for effective, non-violent actions to eliminate the causes of climate change.
- ACE—Alliance for Climate Education: ACE is a teen-led group dedicated to educating and organizing students on taking action to reverse climate change.
- Catholic Climate Covenant: Founded in 2006 to help implement Catholic social teachings on ecology— specifically followers’ responsibility for climate change and its impact on the most vulnerable.
- Citizens Climate Lobby: Dedicated to creating the political will for climate solutions by enabling individuals to access and exercise their innate personal power.
- Climate Central: An independent organization of leading scientists and journalists researching and reporting on climate change and its impacts on the public.
- Climate Reality Project: Founded by Al Gore, its mission is to move the conversation forward and turnclimate awareness into global action for change.
- Environmental Defense Fund: Founded in 1967 during the DDT crisis, EDF is a coalition of scientists, economists and lawyers dedicated to defending the environment.
- Evangelical Environmental Network: Dedicated to fulfilling the biblical call to care for all of God’s creation by stopping and preventing activities that are harmful.
- Extinction Rebellion: An international activist movement that uses assertive non-violent civil disobedience in an attempt to halt mass extinction and minimize the risk of social collapse.
…pick one. Doesn’t matter which one. Just do it.
- Greenpeace: A global organization using peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote sustainable solutions.
- Interfaith Power and Light: Founded to inspire and mobilize people of faith and conscience to take bold and just action on climate change.
- Jewish Climate Action Network: Dedicated to inspiring and mobilizing Jewish communities to take leadership and participate in bold climate campaigns.
- Mothers Out Front: Founded by mothers (and grandmothers) who could no longer be silent about the dangers that climate change poses to the world’s children and grandchildren.
- Sierra Club: Founded by John Muir in 1892, it is the most enduring and, arguably, the most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States.
- Sunrise Movement: A youth-led movement to stop climate change, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel dark money on politics, and create millions of good jobs in the process.
- Union of Concerned Scientists: Founded in 1969 by MIT students and scientists to share information, seek truth and base conclusions on evidence to solve environmental and social problems.
- United Church of Christ Climate Change: Born from a 1982 environmental action, UCC-CC has gone on to fight for climate justice and partner with 350.org to form local affiliates.
- Unitarian Universalists Ministry for Earth: Dedicated to inspiring, facilitating and supporting personal, congregational and denominational practices that honor and sustain the earth and all beings.
If you know of other national or global organizations fighting climate change, please email me with their name and link.
*YES, the science is unambiguous
THIS CHART illustrates the urgent, existential threat we face. And, it underscores the fierce urgency of now. It’s based on peer-reviewed science, not opinion or conjecture. The sources:
- ClimateCentral.org— Specifically: the chart template Data
- IPCC—the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Specifically: the CO2 ppm levels from 1960 to 2000 Data
- 2 Degrees Institute — Specifically: the 2018 CO2 Data
If you look at the upper right side of the graph, and the 20 year increments from 1960 to the present, you’ll see an alarming increase in atmospheric CO2 for each period. For all the bold treaties and talk, atmospheric CO2 levels are NOT decreasing. And they are not just increasing, they are accelerating.
…atmospheric CO2 levels are NOT decreasing.
Without action, this represents an irreversible death spiral for life on earth. The system that created this catastrophe is not capable of saving itself without the massive intervention of ordinary people like you and me. Otherwise, it would have already done so.
° YES, we have very little time left to act
IN 2018, peer reviewed science from the world’s pre-eminent climate scientists—not some cable news talking head—predicted we have 12 years to cut CO2 emissions by 45 percent or irreversibly raise global temperatures by 1.5 degrees celsius from pre-industrial times. That means an irreversible onslaught of unimaginable storms, sea rise, droughts, migrations, agricultural failures, starvation, death, destruction, wars and chaos. And, irreversible means forever—or hundreds of millions of years, if you prefer. There is no known way of undoing this damage. We cannot refreeze melted glaciers.
There is no known way of undoing this damage…
And yet the levels keep rising. The earth keeps getting warmer. And time is running out.
So what, if anything, are you willing to do about it? The resources to engage are on this page. The motivation to act is on you.
Postscript: climate science and Pseudo-SKEPTICISM
SKEPTICISM is a basic pillar of the scientific discipline. Here’s how it works. Science begins with observing something that can be replicated. Once established as fact, it is added to the scientific canon. Over time, those facts are drawn together to develop theories about how larger systems work. Those theories are then rigorously—even mercilessly—evaluated and challenged by those grounded in the science, conversant in the literature and capable of comprehending the math. That skepticism is solely dedicated finding the truth, regardless of whose ox is gored—whether that be a medieval Pope or the CEO of Exxon. It is not swayed by self interest, money or power. And while imperfect, it self-corrects when new facts are presented. That is the result of authentic, competent skepticism.
What passes for “skepticism” regarding climate science is overwhelmingly voiced by people who have not mastered the depth and complexity of the science and are unable to comprehend the math. Worse, their “skeptical” arguments are rarely their own; instead, they are parroting propaganda manufactured by vested interests in the status quo—who then spend hundreds of millions spreading their misinformation and outright lies to gullible or disingenuous “skeptics” to create doubt. That doubt leads to inaction which leads to complacency, allowing them to continue making money as the planet dies. Ingenious. Also amoral, insane and even evil. But definitely ingenious. And definitely not authentic skepticism.
One hallmark of a sound scientific theory is that it not only elegantly incorporates all the known facts, it also predicts otherwise unexpected future phenomenon. That is true today of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which continues to astound the scientific world over a century later with validations that can only now be observed. It is also true of climate science. What was first predicted in 1967—and was widely criticized and even condemned at the time—is now happening.
The only serious error was in the rate of change: climate scientists thought these changes would take a century or more to begin manifesting. They were wrong. Those changes are happening now. Exactly as predicted. Only sooner.