THE CLIMATE CRISIS is upon and all around us. And, like in the ’60s, students are awakening to the reality that they will be the ones to pay for their elders’ errors and indulgences. But, unlike the ’60s, I’m not hearing any new rallying songs. Not yet, anyway. So I wrote one—in hopes to help inspire them and the rest of us to action before it’s too late. “Up to Me. Up to You.” is available on many platforms, mostly free:
CD Baby File. Makes the song available to streaming services like Spotify. And allows you to purchase a CD quality WAV file if, for whatever unfathomable reason, you really want to own a copy of it.
How You Can Help.
SHARE IT with friends. Post on social media. Write a comment on my YouTube Channel or a review on CD Baby. Use freely in any climate meetings, rallies, presentations or events. Spread the word. Time is short. Inspiration is everything.
It’s up to me and it’s up to you…
NOTE:You may use this video in any setting or over any media platform as long as you’re not making money with it. If you are, please contact me beforehand for permission.
THREE HUNDRED ordinary folks gathered over the weekend in Oakland, plotting to overthrow climate complacency. And, they have a plan. But first, let’s review the bad news complacency ignores…
IT’S THAT annoying little 800,000 year atmospheric CO2 chart. The 350 boundary at the top of the blue box represents the highest level for climate stability. That little red asterisk in the upper right corner (400 ppm) indicates the beginning of severe climate instability. We’re now at 410. And rising. Even with all the prestigious climate summits and celebrated international agreements, we are still increasing our output of CO2 every year. So that rising red line on the right side actually represents a death spiral. We are causing it. And, we can’t seem to stop ourselves.
More bad news.
TO SURVIVE with any dignity, we need to transform our energy infrastructure from carbon to renewables. Drastically. And quickly. A forty percent reduction of CO2 emissions in just 12 years. This will involve fundamental change, which can be traumatic and disorienting for many. That’s why it hasn’t happened yet. More to the point, it will only happen if we, the people, rise up in overwhelming force and demand it.
Now, some good news.
FIRST, we can rise up in overwhelming force if we choose to.
Second, I’ve discovered that the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) offers the simplest, most elegant and least painful carbon reduction plan—and a brilliant strategy for implementing it. All it needs is more ordinary people like you and me to make it happen.
Their plan is to implement a nationally-legislated carbon fee, charged where the carbon enters the economy (oil companies, etc.), that increases every year. Gasoline, for example, would go up about 15 cents a gallon the first year, and continue increasing every year after that, creating an incentive to drive less or purchase more efficient vehicles. But purchase them with what?
That’s part of the genius of this plan. ALL of the money collected will be returned equally to the people every month, like a Social Security check. People would be free to spend it however they choose, but the financial incentive would be to cut rising energy costs—stimulating the economy and green innovation, technology and millions of new jobs.
Nobel-Prize-winning economists predict this plan will cut carbon emissions by 40 percent in 12 years, the target we need to meet—and are currently not meeting or even beginning to approach.
The second part of their plan is where you and I come in. For this to happen, congress must be lobbied by we the people. They must be overwhelmed (in a positive way) or will either continue to avoid fundamental change for fear of being thrown out of office or implement a watered down, more complex and ineffective version to protect special interests. Either way, we lose—along with our planetary support system.
CCL’s strategy is to establish a bipartisan volunteer chapter in every legislative district and they’ve nearly achieved that goal in just ten years. And, from those chapters, to engage everyday citizens as lobbyists.
Their approach is right out of Gandhi’s playbook: positive, peaceful and effective. The only thing it needs to succeed is more volunteers…
RESOLUTIONS in hand, time to check our good intentions against reality.
All climate crisis talk notwithstanding, global consumption of fossil fuels increased again last year. This is because of us, all of us—especially in America, which as a nation still consumes the most carbon per capita. And, this escalating consumption is nothing less than negligent homicide on a global scale.
The planet got hotter. Last September was the hottest on record—1.02 degrees F warmer than the average from 1981-2010.
Although the application of renewables is increasing, nearly exponentially, and electric car sales are set to explode, these trends alone are not enough to stave off an irreversible climate apocalypse in the near future. We have to change. Fundamentally.
And while change brings tremendous opportunities for economic growth and renewal, it also brings emotional pain—a lot of pain. When luxury becomes necessity and indulgence becomes the norm, it is hard—even painful—to embrace restraint, to cut back. And even personal sacrifice, while helpful, will not be enough. The problem is systemic, global. Yet it is all but impossible for governments, particularly democracies, to inflict this kind of pain without an overwhelming demand (France, anyone?). Even then, it’s not guaranteed, but without it, the system—and life as we know it—is doomed. We are not going to consume our way out of this.
Some good news.
Kids are waking up and demanding change. The Student Climate Strike last fall attracted more than a million protesters worldwide. More strikes are planned for 2020. A million is a start, but not nearly enough. If you are not joining them, why? Really. Why?
And from the Bodhi Bill Department of Shameless Self-Promotion comes this teaser: my upbeat, Pete-Seeger-style, we can solve this climate crisis singalong recording and video is nearing completion. Near as I can tell, it’s the first of its kind; maybe it will inspire more? And better!? Anyway, standby for the “Release Newsletter & Party Planner” in the next few weeks. I hope you will be inspired to share it with others. Can’t beat the price: free.
P O S T S C R I P T
AUSTRALIAis on fire. All of it. Nineteen people have died so far, burned to death. Half a billion animals have perished. And, it is still out of control. Meanwhile, their Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, claims there is no direct evidence climate change impacted this unprecedented conflagration. That, in a nutshell, is the ignorance and intransigence—at the highest levels of power—our world is facing. It is not supported by a single scientific fact or assessment. Instead, it is based on complacency, convenience and expediency. And, it will not change unless we force it to.
ALTHOUGH I produced far fewer Songs of the Month than I anticipated last year (moving IS disruptive!), I’m proud of the few I did complete. And as we approach the first anniversary of my Chyros Carol, I offer it up again for your Christmas Eve contemplation. Nice things about Christmas songs is they can be repeated!
And I’ve been asked to perform the first part, “A Quiet Carol,” at the UUFNN Christmas Eve Service. It’s a rare pleasure and honor to be simply listened to in this era of relentless messaging. I’m grateful. Plus, the sparse lyric is one of my personal favorites.
Silent nights, angels flights, do I dare believe?
As the songs linger on through this Christmas eve.
Peace on earth, second birth, can these be achieved?
Yet the songs linger on every Christmas eve.
So let us contemplate the Mystery, appreciate each other and find time for gratitude and joy in the holiday season.
Then, come the new year, it’s back to the barricades…
I’M REALLY getting sick of stuff. As a dyed-in-the-wool, discerning, all-American compulsive materialist, this has been (and continues to be) a remarkable—if slow, awkward and even sometimes painful—awakening. It didn’t help that I grew up next to and alongside Disneyland, where all things fantasy become embodied in material perfection, and where the future promises an endless stream of brighter and better stuff—the stuff of salvation and happiness.
I am aging out of that delusion, to the extent I now see virtually every object I purchase as toxic landfill—not abstractly in some distant future, but actually when I purchase it. This is not pleasant and the fact it is true doesn’t offer me any self-righteous relief. It is distressing, especially in this season of convulsive giving and/or buying.
WHAT BROUGHT ON this recent convulsion was a purchase I needed to make—one more thing—to produce my hopeful climate singalong marching song. My micro studio will only hold four “singalong singers” at a time, so I needed four headphones so they could each sing along without leaking the recorded music tracks into the mics. I had three. I needed four. So, I acquired more landfill and burned more fossil fuel driving across town—in insane holiday traffic—so I could complete an optimistic song about embracing change to live on less consumption and produce less waste.
And, trapped for two hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I also managed to miss the Fridays for Future event I organize every week downtown. Driving home, instead, with a shiny new box of toxic waste.
The good news is the headphones all worked and I’ve got the first group of four singers “in the can.” Through the voodoo of digital audio, it sounds more like a dozen. Three more foursomes and I’ll have a chorus to rival any hot August nights tent revival service in history. And maybe inspire its own global spiritual awakening…
Audio Sneak Preview:
First verse, first virtual chorus, first mix. Song complete, maybe the end of January?
WHILE WORKING on a homemade recording of my upbeat, banjo-driven, call-and-response, “We Are the World” wannabe inspiring singalong on climate change activism, I have come up hard against my limitations. So this could be my wish list for Santa should I visit the mall:
I wish I had a more musical voice.
I wish I had a better ear for producing and mixing records.
I wish I could inspire people to action at least as much as I annoy them.
I don’t think I’m getting any of those wishes fulfilled this year, but hopefully not lump of coal in my stocking either. That would be ironic, I suppose, but not encouraging—even if it was clean coal!
Meanwhile, today is another fasting day for climate awareness. We all do our best.
ALSO KNOWN as Black Friday, although probably not in honor of any African American contributions to our culture. But it could be. Why not? Better that than simply a glorification of consumption and waste.
Anyway, I’m taking the upcoming, post-Thanksgiving, Fasting for Our Future Friday off in gratitude of the incomprehensible love, abundance, comfort and convenience in my life. Thank you all for being part of it.
Then I’ll be returning to the ramparts to secure a similar—if more sustainable—pursuit of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for future generations.
IN MY initial, seemingly futile attempts to find something, anything, going on in Reno concerning the climate crisis, the only thing I came across was a local chapter of the Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Okay. Great. Whatever. I’ll join!
“…quite a stunning surprise.”
In truth, I obliquely knew this organization existed, along with dozens of other visionary climate groups crowding a chronically limited social engagement bandwidth, but no more than that. Turns out, I was in for a quite a stunning surprise. CCL, I discovered, has a brilliant plan for cutting CO2 emissions by 40% in ten years and equally brilliant strategy for enacting it into law. Who knew!?
Basically, CCL’s “Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act” enacts a carbon fee that will return all the money collected back to citizens every month. This will incentivize a reduction in fossil fuels while making available the funds to help pay for lower carbon alternatives in any way people choose to invest in them. It’s quite an exquisite plan and grassroots political strategy, well worth learning about, so here’s the link:
So yes, there is a solution. But, it’s not going to enact itself. I encourage you to take a look and maybe even get involved. Complacency, despair or denial are not helpful strategies for solving our climate crisis. This is. Or could be. Entirely up to us.