And There Is Hope
There is reason to be optimistic as we face the complexity of the climate crisis. You may ask how this is possible given the apparently unsurmountable barriers of CO2 emissions reductions and the damage that we have caused already to the biosphere.
Moreover, it is highly demoralizing when one’s own government has engaged in an aggressive campaign to dismantle regulations put in place to arrest greenhouse gases and protect the integrity of our air, water and soil, citing cost as a motive. However, at what cost?
Citing cost (meaning reduced profit) as a reason for dismantling environmental protection regulations, some of which have been in place for over 50 years, negates the true cost of doing business as usual. It is a dereliction of the moral responsibility owed by the US to low pollution emitting countries for pumping greenhouse gases for 150 years into the planet’s atmosphere at disproportionately high level. A precious atmosphere shared by all nations, industrialized and non-industrialized.
Despite three years of outright war against established sensible environmental policies by the corporate interests that hijacked our federal government, I remain optimistic that “real leaders” are emerging at this critical juncture who can lead us out of the crisis. They come from different backgrounds, rich and poor, young and old, white and brown. The climate crisis is increasing our awareness of the destructive nature of “what is” and driving a counter action of “what can be” – by laying the foundations for a better tomorrow.
Engaging in climate value driven action are leaders such as Yacouba Sawadogo, a farmer from Burkina Faso, Africa, who has been successfully using a traditional farming technique called Zaï to restore soils damaged by desertification and drought, essentially stopping the desert that would have rendered his community a waste land.
Bill Gates, the wealthiest man in the world with 110 billion dollars, and his wife Melinda, have taken head on the principal cause of global warming – fossil fuel energy production. They have infused capital into novel energy technology projects with promising results. A recent technological breakthrough by one of the startup alternative energy companies the Gates funded, Heliogen, aims to bring clean energy solutions to the heavy industry sector, i.e. cement and steel manufacturing responsible for 17% of global C02 greenhouse (global warming) gases. They just announced the creation of “the word’s first technology that can commercially replace fuels with carbon-free, ultra-high temperature heat from the sun.”
A spectacular youth environmental movement has emerged in response to the climate crisis. Our youth are increasingly taking leadership roles in climate activism. They are after all the ones that will inherit a scarred planet handed to them by the adults that simply did not know, knew but did not act, or knew and acted to worsen the problem through a lifestyle of plundering. Witness the courage of a 15-year-old Greta Thunberg, crossing the Atlantic in a small sailboat, her fearlessness inspiring a global youth movement to challenge the status quo.
PULL OUT: Compassion and creativity are challenging the largest existential crisis of our time.
There is a sense of immediacy and clear purpose in inspiring global awareness and change. Awareness of our unique peril and change in how we go about living in harmony with the natural planetary systems that has brought forth and sustained our species.
A new order of leaders with a new world view has emerged, driving change in the established order that grows increasingly resistant. Expanded awareness is intensifying among the youth and unifying individuals across all divides. The challenge towards change is formidable in a world where 40% of its inhabitants have never heard of climate chaos but its effects are already causing many to struggle even more, just to subsist.
The stakes have never been this high; this is a struggle for ALL of our existence. Still there is hope. There is hope in the growth of regenerative agriculture, and in the duplication of the actions of the man in Burkina Faso, who stopped the dessert. There is hope in the action of billionaires who are racing to find technological solutions to decrease atmospheric emissions. There is hope in the winds that powered the sailboat of a young descendant of the Vikings, across the ocean. Her message for urgent change is thundering throughout the globe and launching a world-wide youth environmental movement who continues to inspire and motivate others into action.
Moreover, in the spirit of hope, I conclude by putting forth the question: Can this be the beginning of a new era? An era where we finally learn to live with the planet as complements to its natural systems rather than die as plunderers.
“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”
— Martin Luther King