Monday, January 23, 2012


Join me at http://www.350.orgI’ve had a few days to think over the Bill McKibben lecture last week. I wondered what I was going to say that hasn’t been said before, what was I going to take away from this experience that I didn’t already know. McKibben preached to the choir for about 2 hours on Friday night (it’s fair to assume James Inhofe wasn’t in the audience…[sidebar: why does “McKibben show up as being spelled incorrectly in Microsoft Word, but “Inhofe” does not?]) I mean I’m egotistical enough to think if everyone in America lived as I do, we wouldn’t have a problem with climate change. What else can I possibly do to make a difference? As someone who literally got hit over the head by global warming (and yes, I mean literally) I nodded appreciatively when McKibben talked about how Vermont, one of the greenest states (it’s right there in the name, people!) was devastated by rains and flooding from last year’s Hurricane Irene, and how there should be a whole lot more believers out there now. Is that what it’s going to take? A personalized hurricane for every James Inhofe out there? Frustrated at dire statistics and feeling like all I do is just to offset someone else’s emissions, I tried to dig deeper into this lecture and find the kernel that was going to move me from my own apathy into a new level of activism.

And then it dawned on me: McKibben, (who has been a hero of mine since seeing a Dateline interview with him in the 90s about Curitiba Brazil and his book Hope, Human and Wild—a catalyst that made me want to be a writer and an activist) is not by nature an outgoing person. He’s a writer, a college professor, he lives in a small town in Vermont, but by his passion for getting people to believe and act on climate change, he has become a powerful advocate and activist. And that’s what I need to do, what we all need to do. We need to set aside our apathy and move from our comfort zones. We need to stop saying it’s not going to get better—because it WILL NOT get better unless we do something about it and do it now. I see a glimmer of hope with the small but major activism victories of the last year: Occupy Wallstreeters braving winter, stopping SOPA, the President not caving to pressure to green light the Keystone XL pipeline. These are small victories, but they should be celebrated. They should be seen as momentum.

So McKibben’s next action with his grassroots organization, is to blow the whistle on Congress and the amount of money they receive from the petroleum industry. A good percentage of Americans do believe in climate change but feel powerless to do something about it because the people in charge of legislation are caught in a cycle of too much money. So January 24, is heading to Washington DC to call out the Senators and Representatives and how much each of them are receiving from Big Oil. And from here on out, I am going to make it my personal mission to get 500 people to join And maybe those 500 won’t march in Washington the first week or call their Congressman but maybe they’ll sign an online petition and maybe they’ll think twice about driving somewhere they could easily walk to. And maybe they’ll look closer at their elected official and maybe, just maybe we can keep the momentum of change going. If you've made it to the end of this blog post and it led you to, let me know and I'll add you to my tally. Even better, pass it on and let's go viral. We're going to start slow, but I'm not going to rest until I hit 500 converts.

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