Happy Mothers Day, Earth. Your dominant species has something for you: A Mothers Day gift of 400 ppm! We’ve been working on it for years. It’s consumed much of our time and most of our resources, so we hope you appreciate it. We’re sure it will make your 2013 Mothers Day memorable . . . and warm.
As I sit here and write past midnight, with an ETA (Estimated Time of Arising) of 6:00 a.m., I struggle to wrap my mind around this weekend’s climate news. I look up at the night sky, now laced with 400 ppm of carbon. The last time a human-like creature experienced a sky this crowded with carbon was three million years ago!
Do we realize what 400 ppm means? Scientists know what it means. No matter how you slice the details, if we do nothing, this New Climate Era will usher in historic levels of human suffering and environmental catastrophe.
It is beyond frustrating to know that the problem is not technical, but political. All we lack is the will to change, to adapt, to think and act rationally.
But the status quo is hard to buck. The status quo relishes comfort, and tells us we have to go slow as we transition off fossil fuels, that we have to be pragmatic and can’t disrupt the economy. I want to say, “Hey, Economic Pragmatist, there’s a grizzly bear charging at you. But take your damn time.”
I am so frustrated at our collective lethargy that I am moved to do something big, dramatic. Sometimes, I feel like ending my fossil-fuel use immediately, completely. I feel like not turning-on a single appliance (including this computer) until every iota of power I use comes from a renewable resource. I feel like never getting in a car.
Sometimes – like tonight, looking up at the sky – I feel like screaming.
But screaming will only wake the neighbors. We need to wake an entire species.
The 400 ppm milestone is another in a long string of wake-up calls. Fortunately, the global community of activists committing their lives to sounding the alarm is growing – and taking action. Consider the excellent work of 350.org and Physicians for Social Responsibility, among others.
In just over nine months, 1,000 climate patriots will march 3,000 miles across America. The Great March for Climate Action could be the “shot heard round the world” on behalf of Mother Earth’s climate – and it’s better than screaming, and certainly better than simply complaining.