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Global Warming: What Can I Do?

January 9th, 2013 · 1 Comment

This guest post comes from Mokurai.

Buying a compact fluorescent light will not solve Global Warming by itself. Do it anyway. It is an essential component in the grand strategy by which we build ourselves into the foundations of a mass movement, constructed piece by piece, to the point where our opposition cannot resist us, and we can bring the Age of Carbon to its rightful end. One of the key sets of pieces is knowledge spread as widely as possible about how to do that, of which more below.

Mass movements are necessarily made up exclusively of individuals who would not be able to get what they want and need on their own. If you belong to a union, if you have the vote but are not a rich White male, if you benefit from Social Security and Medicare or plan on doing so, if you are part of a mixed-race couple or LGBT couple who got legal permission to marry, you didn’t build that on your own. Our ancestors and many of us today did, and we all have to keep doing that and more.

Our enemies are implacable, but diminishing in numbers, and becoming louder and much nastier as they do so, and as they purge themselves of their less extreme members. They have lots of special-interest money rallying them to the causes of selfishness: racism, bigotry, misogyny, Mammonism, rejection of science, and the like. But money can only go so far in motivating those disposed to support it. It can spread lies, but it cannot manufacture more support for those lies among those who have gotten a taste for truth, as the young increasingly have.

Saul Alinsky laid out the overall strategy and tactics for mass movements in Rules for Radicals. His work is so effective that Republicans hold their noses and use it to train their own operatives.

But we also need specifics on the Global Warming issue. What can be done? How much of it can I do? Follow below to learn more.

What, indeed, can I do about Anthropogenic (human-caused) Global Warming?

I can learn more about the issues.

  • How do we know AGW is real, and a threat? (Science! I don’t have to tell Kossacks how to find that, do I? Wikipedia links to some of the essential research and to popular explanations of it.)
  • How much of a threat is it? (Try this assessment (PDF): National security implications of global climate change)
  • What measures would reverse it? (Conservation, efficiency, renewable power, a smart grid, a carbon tax)
  • Would they cost the economy, or boost the economy? (Increased efficiency flows straight to the bottom line. At some point soon, renewable energy would be cheaper than carbon fuels, if we could end carbon subsidies and institute a carbon tax that covered the environmental damage from carbon and its contaminants.)
  • Where is the opposition coming from? (Big oil and big coal, allied with the Religious Right anti-Darwinists and the I want what I want when I want it brigade)
  • Why are so many Progressive organizations failing to push this? (Beats me. Let’s ask them.)
  • What is Congress doing about it? (See the Select Committee on Energy independence and Global Warming (Rep. Ed Markey, D-MA, Former Chair until Boehner shut it down), and support the former members. Also, Markey for Senate!)

I can be an example in my personal life, by adopting energy-saving technologies, by insulating my home, by buying green energy if it is available, by driving less, and so on. My direct contribution is piddling, but most of it saves me money, so it would be stupid not to do it. Anything I can do to help build the movement is not piddling.

I can press the issue politically, working for more and better Democrats with more and better understanding of and commitment to science and effective action. That means doing away with the excesses of the filibuster and with gerrymandering and voter suppression, among other things.

I can spread the word, not just here in dKos or on the Net more broadly or in the Letters column of my local newspapers, but by speaking out, or supporting those speaking out, in every relevant organization I belong to, religious, political, civic, charitable, governmental, corporate, or other. Or even at the cafe or the grocery store.

I can work on education. Real education. Not teaching to the test. I can assist in the Open Educational Resources movement to create digital learning materials to replace printed textbooks, with free distribution under Creative Commons licenses. It is the only way to break the stranglehold of Texas and the textbook publishers on much of the textbook industry. (California, the other dominant influence, is better on printed textbooks, but not actually good. See Judging Books by Their Covers, by Richard Feynman, and the much better CaliforniaFree Digital Textbook Initiative.) The Sharealike version of the CC license allows students and teachers to improve the OERs, to translate them to other languages, and to adapt them to local conditions. The Gulf Coast, for example, needs different materials on AGW than Alaska. Bangladesh and some island nations have it even worse. The science is the same everywhere, but the resources and the impacts are not.

I do all that. In particular, I manage the Replacing Textbooks program at Sugar Labs, a partner of One Laptop Per Child.

How about you? What do you do? What could you do? What do you know about that I don’t?

Tags: Energy · climate change · guest post

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 nmr // Jan 11, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    1. Compost. Enrich your soil with your cast-off organic matter (i.e. coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, veggie discard bits).
    2. Rethink having that big green lawn that sucks up a lot of water + dousing it with pesticides & herbicides.
    3. Grow native plants in your garden. They have evolved to adapt to your environment so they use less water and will attract and sustain pollinators and insects.
    4. Use public transportation whenever possible- you get more exercise that way, particularly when you are running for the bus! If you can’t use public transportation, consider car-pooling.

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