Patricia M. DeMarco, Ph.D.
“In spite of the truly marvelous inventions of the human brain, we are beginning to wonder whether our power to change the face of nature should not have been tempered with wisdom for our own good, and with a greater sense of responsibility for the welfare of future generations.” Rachel Carson[i]
[i] Rachel Carson- Lost Woods. “On the Pollution of Our Environment” p. 228
The United Nations Sixth IPCC report “Making Peace with Nature” calls for an end to our war on Nature: “The current mode of development degrades the Earth’s finite capacity to sustain human well-being”[i] We must work together to reach a condition that will sustain humanity in harmony with Nature.
This essay discusses why we must take immediate action and recommends things every person must do to turn away from the pending disasters. Everyone must play a part in saving our planet.
The sustainable pathways still are glimpsed as through a keyhole into a beautiful, locked garden where the gates are guarded by the 20 multi-national corporations whose wealth exceeds that of many entire nations: the fossil extractive industries and their petrochemical production companies that hold our future in abeyance. As long as the companies whose business models depend on extracting fossil resources as raw material for fuel and products control the Congress and many state legislatures, the necessary policy changes will be impossible. The laws and policies put in place to support and encourage these industries over the last 100 years now stand as impediments to the transformation that must take place if we are to survive and thrive as a species. It is not enough to feel frustration and despair. Now is the time for mobilizing and taking strong action.
Demand accountability from elected representatives in Congress and in state and local legislative bodies. Make your voice heard calling for these three priorities:
- Stop subsidies to fossil extractive industries. Change the laws. Put taxpayer funds to work on the new solutions. To continue subsidies to the fossil industries is to try filling a bucket with a huge hole in the bottom.
- Use the power of government procurement to promote sustainable solutions. Adopting federal and state and local government procurement for renewable energy, passive solar design in buildings, re-usable materials and food sourced from regenerative growing practice will help drive markets in the right direction.
- Establish the regulatory infrastructure to support and promote sustainable practices– building codes, utility tariffs and microgrid requirements, restrictions on producing toxic materials, manufacturer accountability laws for plastics, rescinding the supremacy of mineral rights over surface rights to protect watersheds and fertile lands and forests, require rapid regulartoy action. The precedent of 150 years of property law must be revisited to eliminate impediments to sustainable practices to control climate warming.
- Invest in communities, especially those most harmed by the extractive industries. See the ReImagine Appalachia Blueprint for the jobs impact of the investment in union jobs. https://reimagineappalachia.org
Everyone has a role to play in making the policy U-Turn we need in the United States of America. Every person has a responsibility to act, to use all resources available to reduce the carbon footprint. We who are at the top of the greenhouse gas production causers must take responsibility to change ourselves.
- Find out what your own carbon footprint is and make a plan to reduce it every day. You can start here https://www.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
- Talk about the reality of climate warming to your family, friends and business associates. Involve others in your climate action plan. Be sure your community has a Climate Action Plan to identify the best way forward. Get involved in creating one, and help to promote climate action in your own town.
- Call your elected representatives and demand action on climate. This is not the time for half-way measures or token responses. Our survival is at stake. Find out how to contact your elected officials here https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials
- VOTE in every election, every time. Find out where your candidates stand on climate and equity issues and work to elect strong agents of change. It is critical that we empower people to be heard.
Finally- the United Kingdom will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-26) in Glasgow on October 31 to November 12, 2021. During this time, plan to turn out in force in a demonstration of urgency for united action on climate across the globe. “Whether future generations look back at this time with admiration or despair, depends entirely on our ability to seize this moment,” according to Alok Sharma, COP-26 President-Designate. Watch for demonstrations, public actions, and calls for people’s strikes for climate justice during this time.
You can see the COP-26 plans here https://2nsbq1gn1rl23zol93eyrccj-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/COP26-Explained.pdf
[i] United Nations Environment Programme (2021) Making Peace with Nature: A scientific blueprint to tackle climate, biodiversity and pollution emergencies. Nairobi. https://www.unep.org/resources/making-peace-nature Accessed August 13, 2021.