Paul Hawken's new book Blessed Unrest is a much-needed analysis of the movement that's poised to change the world as we know it. It's a must read, (excerpted here in Orion magazine) even if you're not a self-described grassroots activist. In it, he states that "the movement to restore people and planet is now composed of over one million organizations" working toward ecological sustainability and social justice. Maybe two million. And that: By conventional definition, this is not a movement. Movements have leaders and ideologies. You join movements, study tracts, and identify yourself with a group. You read the biography of the founder(s) or listen to them perorate on tape or in person. Movements have followers, but this movement doesn't work that way. It is dispersed, inchoate, and fiercely independent. There is no manifesto or doctrine, no authority to check with. Like we witnessed with the success of Step It Up 2007, the movement can't be divided because it is composed of many small pieces, forming, gathering, and disbanding quickly as need be. The media and politicians may dismiss it as powerless, but "it has been known to bring down governments, companies, and leaders through witnessing, informing, and massing." This is one of his main conclusions:
((brightlines_include)) How climate change is handled in few key areas within the year -- particularly congressional action in 2008 and 2009 and the 2008 presidential election -- will likely set the terms of the U.S. political debate, which for all practical purposes, within the constraints of Hansen's standard and timeframe for action, will determine the outcome. Therefore, a Bright Lines plan of action must accomplish three things: polarize debate in Congress and the presidential election; strengthen the narrative now being advanced by climate scientists; and, build a climate action core and financial base. Six campaigns and programs are outlined for the critical 14 month period from April 2007- May 2008. 1. Climate Civil Defense Preparedness. The story told by congressional action in 2007-2009 will be that climate change must and can be addressed by vigorous action to cap carbon emissions and win U.S. energy independence, tempered by the necessity of not over-burdening the U.S. auto (Rep. Dingell), oil (Sen. Bingaman), and coal (Sen. Byrd) industries. There is little room to challenge this narrative, but it may be possible to add to it.
Organic coffee is safe, for now. In a victory for organic farmers in the developing world and organic coffee drinkers here, the USDA's National Organic Program has backed down and said that there will be no immediate change in the way these farmers are certified.
Rep. Jay Inslee, Democrat from Washington’s 1st congressional district and a clean-energy champion, will be discussing climate change with other local eco-experts (and with the audience) at Seattle’s Town Hall on May 9. Additional smart folks at the Symposium on Climate Policy, presented by the Thomas C. Wales Foundation, will include Denis Hayes, national coordinator of the first Earth Day and president of the Bullitt Foundation; K.C. Golden of Climate Solutions; Ben Packard of Starbucks; Eric Markell of Puget Sound Energy; and Steve Nicholas of Seattle’s Office of Sustainability and Environment. Ross Reynolds of KUOW will moderate. Tickets are $15 …
I'd like to recommend Food Chain Radio to all you people who like to eat. This podcast/broadcast is freely available and fascinating, delving into the implications of our appetites: everything from factory farming and CAFOs to irradiation and poisoned pet food. The most interesting recent show available at the link above is called Grandma's Wartime Kitchen, which discusses a time of rationing when oddities like knuckle of pork and stuffed beef heart became culinary treats by necessity (WWII), and asks, "What will we eat if times get tough again?" More vegetables, hopefully, but it's an interesting topic as we contemplate the possibly big planetary changes ahead.
Old school Cossacks: thundered off the steppes in bloodthirsty hordes, fearsome warriors, rumored to tuck ears of enemies under saddleblankets in lieu of provisions during raids. New-school Kossacks: more tippety-tap than thundering, not so much with the ear eating, fearsome and effective in rallying support for renewable energy. HR 550 is the largest, most important piece of solar legislation ever introduced in the U.S. Here is a story about how they are making it happen:
From "The Rich World's Policy on Greenhouse Gas Now Seems Clear: Millions Will Die," by George Monbiot: Rich nations seeking to cut climate change have this in common: they lie. You won't find this statement in the draft of the new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was leaked to the Guardian last week. But as soon as you understand the numbers, the words form before your eyes. The governments making genuine efforts to tackle global warming are using figures they know to be false. Read the rest.
West Virginia Dems Rep. Nick Rahall and Sen. Robert C. Byrd are fighting mad over some "despicable" anti-coal ads that have appeared in major publications recently. The ads, underwritten by a natural gas company called the Chesapeake Energy Corp, show faces smudged with make-up meant to resemble coal dust under a headline reading: "Face It, Coal is Filthy."
Bush chats with Merkel and Barroso, agrees climate change is a problem U.S. President George W. Bush met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and E.U. President Jose Manuel Barroso at the White House yesterday, chatting about international trade, air-travel policy, missile shields, and The Most Important Issue of Our Time. Though no climate action steps were agreed to, Merkel and Barroso seemed happy that Bush even acknowledged the problem. “We agree there is a threat, there is a very serious and global threat. We agree that there is a need to reduce emissions. We agree that we should work together,” …