One of those stories that often gets left out in the cold is the ever changing climate of our common mother, Earth. We have so much to deal with, the science seems so complicated, we feel her pain, but what can one person do? And hey, if all those normally reserved, never-go-out-on-a-limb climate scientists from all over the globe are actually right in their predictions – that’s scary!
Maybe we should ignore this particular story and just focus on ourselves and our own state of consciousness – meditate, yoga, healthy food, exercise, recycle, you know....
This Sunday’s mega march in New York City, coinciding with International Peace Day (Sept. 21) and 2 days before Tuesday’s UN Climate conference, has seen over 400,000 people from all walks of life and from all over the world. It included concerned celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio, Sting, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Kennedy, Jr., as well as indigenous people from the Pacific Islands and the Amazon forest in Ecuador. They were joined in concurrent marches around the globe - from Delhi in India, to Kathmandu in Nepal, to Istanbul in Turkey, to Paris, London, Berlin, Australia, Brazil, and more than 150 countries including besieged Syria.
Just in time for this massive demonstration of concern, a new book came out this week which helps the mind to connect all the back stories to this big one, all the dots…..
After admitting that she had been in a relative state of denial for years, the author, Naomi Klein, faced her fear and did her own research, 5 years worth, before writing This Changes Everything. Why the title? Because all life will change due to climate disruptions already coming down the road, and we have a VERY short window of time – by 2017 - to keep it from turning into the worst case scenario, by truly turning things around in a very big way. So as important as all our other stories seem, they won’t be continuing if we’re not here anymore. And that changes everything.
Excess carbon emissions are mainly caused by humans burning fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas. Carbon dioxide and methane get trapped in the atmosphere, accumulate forming a sort of thermal blanket, and cause the overall average global temperature to rise. The latest research numbers indicate that emissions have increased by 60% since 1988, even though that’s when governments first began to negotiate reducing emissions. World leaders are obviously not taking care of this problem.
International scientists and governments had agreed that the most reasonable goal would be to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, (~3.7 degrees Fahrenheit). Anything above that would be considered dangerous to life on Earth, causing increasingly severe droughts, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, glacier & arctic melt, and lack of drinking water – the primary ingredient in the human body. But in 2014, the overall increase is only 0.8ºC and these calamities are already happening frequently. Climate change is here now, it’s not some distant future possibility anymore.
The lack of concerted global action so far has many mainstream analysts fearing that we are headed toward a 4ºC rise – twice as high - unless we make drastic changes immediately. At that point, they predict massive crop losses, forest die-off, and extinction of many species, as well as the permanent loss of low coastline cities and island nations due to rising sea levels. The World Bank and other financial organizations have been warning of a potential 4 to 6 degrees Celsius rise by 2100. That’s considered catastrophic.
"These various projections are the equivalent of every alarm in your house going off at once. And then every alarm on your street going off as well, one by one by one. They mean, quite simply, that climate change has become an existential crisis for the human species," writes Klein.
And that leads to the second part of Ms. Klein’s book title - Capitalism vs. Climate Change. Her conclusions may be startling to some, but she posits that the inaction coincides with the rise of laissez-faire unregulated capitalism, or “market fundamentalism” as she calls it. The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other agreements leading up to the World Trade Organization came into being during the same 30-year period, giving global corporations free run of the planet, with greatly decreased environmental regulation and enforcement.
And of course, the fossil fuel industries have been the most profitable on the planet. So while President Obama talks of making climate change a priority, at the same time he has presided over a massive increase in the extraction of fossil fuels throughout America. You can’t solve a problem with one hand if you’re continually feeding it with the other.
Naomi Klein suggests a radical change in priorities – a complete economic overhaul, a realignment of our economy with renewable, clean energy sources - solar, wind, and small hydroelectric – all localized to communities, homes and businesses, rather than centralized fossil fuel burning utilities (with their constantly rising rates). This model has been a great success in Germany, which has a very strong environmental movement. In spite of their northern latitude, the Germans get 50% of their energy from the sun during summer days, and 25% overall from wind and solar throughout the year. The USA is only at 1% right now! Something's wrong here. A massive outcry and demand by ordinary people is needed.
This is not an easy sell to the current economic elite powers that be. In fact, they spend billions convincing gullible Americans that it’s not feasible to "go green". But that is really just their personal preference, not an honest evaluation of the facts. The banking and oil industries are very powerful politically and tied into the media, military, arms dealers, and the profiteers of continuous global war.
And though unknown to most people, the value of the American dollar has been closely tied to the price of oil since 1973, when Richard Nixon (via Henry Kissinger) convinced the Saudis to sell all their oil only in dollars and invest their excess dollars in the US. This was to compensate for the fact that in 1971 Nixon took the US dollar off the international “gold standard”, meaning a dollar was no longer redeemable in gold, thus creating the “petrodollar”. Apparently the Federal Reserve (a non-governmental consortium of US mega bankers which controls all American monetary policy) had been printing significantly more US dollars than it had gold to back them with, and global currency markets started to react, causing rampant US inflation in the 1970’s.
So the Saudi Arabian oil deal, (followed by all OPEC countries), was seen as a savior for the American economy. Demand for oil was equated with demand for the US dollar, keeping it afloat. Now, any country attempting to de-couple oil sales from the dollar seems to end up with an American military invasion or intervention in a civil war – Iraq, Libya, Russia (via Ukraine), and Syria as a proxy to get to Iran. Both Russia and Iran sell oil in their own currencies. Iraq began selling oil in Euros in 2000, quickly changed back to dollars after the American invasion in 2003. Libya proposed a single African (gold standard) currency in 2009 and was 'intervened' in 2011. In addition, there are currently tensions over proposed natural gas pipelines going through Syria, Iraq, and Iran to Europe and bypassing US proxy/ally control – more fossil fuels!
The only thing that will save our planet is a MASSIVE shift in consciousness – sound familiar? That’s the only thing that will lead governments and corporations to do what is imperative. This combined mass movement has already begun, with a rapidly growing global student movement to demand that their universities divest from all fossil fuel industries and instead invest in clean renewable energies, wind and solar. It's also happening with large interfaith religious organizations and pension funds. This strategy is what brought about the official end of apartheid in South Africa, when worldwide divesting of South African goods and currencies reached critical mass.
Elsewhere, formerly a-political small farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans have drawn together to prevent “fracking” from destroying their lands. Fracking (short for hydraulic fracturing) is the process of forcefully injecting (and wasting) millions of gallons of valuable drinking water underground to force open deposits of natural gas or oil from shale. (Another brilliant idea, resulting in methane emissions, highly toxic waste water, and increased earthquakes! Ya can’t make this stuff up!)
So what’s a peace loving yogi to do???
Put your money where your mouth is. If you feel one with the earth and all its inhabitants, then take every action you can to reduce your own “carbon footprint”. Take inventory. Get the most energy efficient appliances you can – do you really need a mega refrigerator and a mega freezer and 4 mega TV’s? These are some of the biggest users of household electricity. Use lava rocks instead of charcoal on the grill. Ask your gardener to use a rake and a push broom, or an electric blower and weed whacker, instead of gas-powered machines. Plant sunflowers wherever you can - they help clear up toxic metals residue in the soil. Combine errands to reduce driving. Do you live in a multi-car household? Can one car be traded in for one of those cute little electric short-commute cars? Or if you have plenty of cash, go for the Tesla - the newest, coolest luxury car (or SUV soon) – all electric with a nearly 300 mile drive range between charges.
Is your house running on solar yet? If not, why not? The lease and purchase deals are continually coming down and geared to cost less than your current electric bill. What about your swimming pool or your water heater? If you need to start small, these cost even less to set up and give instant financial savings. The old stories about lack of affordability are no longer true and were simply in comparison to the fossil fuel industries, which have been heavily subsidized in America for decades, both in low priced land leases and many tax breaks. We need to give those subsidies to clean energy now.
Both major political parties have been dragging their feet on this, with major obstacles coming from some Republicans. If you haven't already, register to vote before the early October deadlines (in most states), October 20th in California. Your local mayor, county supervisors, congressperson, senator, and governor make a big difference, one way or the other. If you have an opportunity to vote for a member of the Green Party, give it your full consideration. Definitely vote on Tuesday, November 4th.
But start with compassion! It’s contagious and vitally needed. Nowhere is it more obvious that we are all in this together. We all have human frailties which have led us to our current state. Encouragement, respect, and love are the fuel for a change of heart. And that changes everything.:)
And always remember the power of prayer and positive thought!
It can all sound pretty grim if you look at it from a standpoint of separation, us vs. them. But as we’ve learned, or are learning more each day – we are all connected. So first, we have to have compassion for members of the fossil fuel industries, their military defenders and arms suppliers, and the bankers who run the show. On the lower rungs of the ladder, many people are employed there, counting on their jobs. On the higher rungs – the big bankers, the CEO’s, generals, hedge fund managers, subcontractor corporations, and their lobbyists and political protégés – also have a heavy emotional investment in their customary social status, wealth, and (illusory) power. It won't be easy for them to let go.
There is a recent study that estimates that $200 billion/year (public & private) investment in changing our priorities over the next 10 years will get us to agreed upon 2025 global targets, provided we make the required u-turn now. That investment study also includes significant transition funds ($50,000/year) for those leaving the affected industries. And many new jobs installing solar and wind technologies. It's a paltry sum compared to the Three Trillion dollars spent on wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more proposed for the coming wars in Syria and beyond. Which is the better "investment of tax dollars"?
No one wants to hear that the world as they know it is coming to an end. But the economic world based on fossil fuel burning must end, pronto. To do anything else would be genocide and suicide rolled into one. Oil is Over! This will become very obvious very soon as the tipping point in global consciousness regarding Mother Earth's story is reached. Just like ‘spiritual’ awakening, people will wonder how they didn’t see it long ago.
And like many awakened people now, all of us will soon be driving plug-in electric hybrid cars, and eventually solar-recharged purely electric cars, to solar and wind powered homes and businesses. More people will grow their own produce or buy it locally, reducing transport carbon emissions. There are still plenty of areas to tackle, such as air flight and trucking without fossil fuels. But like everything in life, we have to start where we are.
Right here, right now.
~ written by Alana
Awakened Oneness Trainer
San Diego, CA
AMAZING UPDATE: On Monday, Sept 22, 2014, The Rockefeller Fund, (heirs to Standard Oil which spun into Exxon & Chevron), announced that it will divest all investments in fossil fuels and switch to renewable energy investments! This is a huge symbolic act, signalling investors everywhere that Oil is Over. Mother Earth is rejoicing.:)
For further info on this aspect of our collective global story, follow the links below:
A recent interview with author Naomi Klein
To read a generous excerpt from her new book:
This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs Climate Change
Click here for more details on the petrodollar, geopolitics, and global wars
Paris Climate Supporter on the Statue de La Republique, by Francois Guillot,
Agence France Presse, Getty Images, from The Guardian Newspaper, New York
300,000+ People's Climate March in NY,
from the Associated Press, at HuffingtonPost.com
People's Climate March - Indigenous with Sunflowers, by Craig Ruttle,
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