365 Days of Climate Awareness 366 – Conclusion

GB Trudeau, “Doonesbury”, 1979.

We certainly don’t have a lot of time. A number of climatologists have said that the next ten years will tell whether our society can survive global warming almost intact, or suffer widespread and even catastrophic damage. As the latest IPCC report describes, averting the catastrophe of global warming will require efforts around the world, from international to local. The political and economic realities are what they are. We cannot afford to fail.

A little over a year ago, I was invited to give a talk on global warming. I was a bit random and tried to include too many (my usual problem). But in the end, one person asked, “What can I do, in my own daily life? A great question that usually has frustrating and unglamorous answers. Mine that day:

  1. Reduce
  2. Reuse
  3. To recycle
GB Trudeau, “Doonesbury”, 1979.

It’s a well-worn mantra at this point, but of these three, (1) Reduce is by far the most important. Reducing our consumption, in any way possible, is the biggest key to avoiding disaster, and it’s something we all have the power to do.

I was struck by the four climate adaptation “enablers” published by the US Department of Defense:

  1. Continuous monitoring and data analysis;
  2. Incentives to reward innovation;
  3. A military work force knowing the climate;
  4. Environmental justice.

As well as the five lines of effort:

  1. Climate-informed decision making;
  2. Train and equip a climate-ready force (i.e. ready to deal with extreme environmental conditions);
  3. Resilient infrastructure;
  4. Supply chain resilience and innovation;
  5. Improved adaptation and resilience through collaboration.

Applying these principles to civilian life, among the enablers I find (3) A climate-aware population the most important. In writing this series, I’ve tried to help make that a reality, by raising not just “awareness”, but people’s levels of knowledge about the world around us, so that we can all engage more meaningfully with others and make more informed decisions. Among the lines of effort, on an individual basis, I find (1) climate-informed decisions in our daily lives, and (5) adaptation and resilience through collaboration mean the most.

I lost my home in the oil crisis a few years ago – yes, I worked for offshore oil companies, although I’m pursuing a career in renewables – so I don’t own my own land right now moment. (How many of us can say the same?) But I still consider myself a survivalist at heart. A family member once sneered at me for saying that, but he has a very different definition than mine. My version of survivalism? A warm, dry house, enough land for a garden, access to water and wood, a library and some musical instruments, some basic hand tools, family and lots of friends nearby. (I still have the library, just boxed up for now, and three beautiful kids.) Personal preparation is important, but community is everything. And thinking together quickly leads to climate-conscious decision-making.

This does not mean that we concede the fight! It all comes down to this month of November: if we still have anything like a democratic republic, and all the aspects of life that depend on it. Call, knock on doors, write, do what you can to secure victory for Democrats this fall, so we can keep moving towards a fairer future. The fight against climate change is just one of the many issues we are fighting for, but perhaps the most important. Now is the time to steady ourselves with a few deep breaths and charge to win, so we can keep moving forward into the future we hope for.

We are our best hope. Let’s take care of each other.

I’m going to steal a page from oldhippedude and the folks at Good Gnus and include some links to music that I really like and that helps me look inside when I feel the need. Because inner health becomes outer health.

Eva Cassidy is my favorite singer (she sadly died in 1996 aged 33 from brain cancer). I consider this song to be his mission statement as an artist, but it’s also a great aspiration for the rest of us. I like to sing too, and I just wish I could express so much ecstasy.

This one is about personal renewal and has been one of my favorites for over two decades. I’ve loved the Poozies ever since I first heard their music, and most of them have their own solo careers by the way.

I fell in love with Irish music hanging out in the bars on the day the musicians showed up for informal sessions on Sunday evenings. This is one of my favorites. I consider it the music of life, played through three generations, from grandfather to father to son. (No reason why it couldn’t be grandmother-to-mother-to-daughter either! Or any form of generation.)

If you want to re-read any part of this series, it’s published in full on my (awkward, non-profit) blog page. Do not hesitate to read!

Be brave, be steadfast, be well, and be generous with your love.

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