Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Warming Wednesdays: something to do about it

Part of my difficulty in envisioning climate change comes from an overwhelming terror that the amount of destruction we nonchalant humans are wreaking on planetary systems is so great that nothing can be done about it. This is particularly distressing to inveterate campaigners like me: we're used to seeing a wrong and figuring out what combination of agitation and policy could make it right, then fighting for our solution. This climate change stuff is just too damn big and too damn complicated to look at.

The good folks at 350.org are offering people in the United States a practical way to get involved in preventing yet greater fossil fuel emissions. Their campaign may not be perfect, but at least they have one. They are working to stop the Canadian tar sands pipeline (Keystone XL) running from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. James Hansen, the retired NASA climate scientist who has been warning about global warming for over 20 years, has said that if all those tons of carbon pollution are let loose in the atmosphere, it is "essentially game over" for the climate.

The Obama administration will decide soon whether to permit construction of the pipeline. The administration seems so in the pocket of fossil fuel companies -- and so pleased to get energy from somewhere beside the Middle East -- that they are likely to approve construction.

But there is still time to enter public comments urging restraint. 350.org has set up an easy tool from which to enter your comment. Do it now. The object is to collect one million protests in the next week.

Go ahead. It is not hard. This is something you can do.

Despite every other legitimate concern, we cannot ignore that our economic and social system is rapidly making the planet less habitable. So I will be posting "Warming Wednesdays" -- reminders of an inconvenient truth.

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