• RSS
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
Misterbadexample On September - 26 - 2014

Last Sunday, some 400,000 of my friends took part in The People’s Climate March. They marched through midtown Manhattan to protest climate change and the attendant issues of warming and ice melting and polar bears dying. This was a way of marking the UN’s Climate summit, scheduled for this week–luminaries marching included United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki Moon. The Sunday event was for the cameras. The Monday event, Flood Wall Street, was far smaller, but was planned to be a forum for civil disobedience–the idea was to have a ‘flood’ of protesters wearing blue go past the Stock Exchange, as a metaphor for the water that will routinely flood across lower Manhattan should sea levels go up as expected over the next 30 years. Some 102 people were arrested, including the polar bear from Sunday. He now has a publicist.

There have been some articles cited in conservative and even mainstream sources about how the Sunday Attendees left so much trash. Part of this sniping is the usual suspects. And even my lefty friends are making the point that they should not have littered, though some say that trash cans were removed along the march route (trash baskets are excellent hiding places for IED’s should someone want to cause trouble). A longtime march organizer publicly chided the organizers for not planning for the onslaught of cups and bottles. But there is a point lost here. The people marching last Sunday should be the most eco-savvy 400,000 people in this country, and they’re using non-recycleable cups and plastic water bottles (which in the US use up 17 million barrels of oil a year, never mind the shipping and transport). And for those coming in from other places by airline, how many of them bought carbon offsets for all that J4?

Many years ago, I took part in a multi-day peace walk in Holland. The Dutch organizers (among others) were absolutely appalled when we Americans stopped off for things like bottled water or cans of soda. They knew the source of every single piece of trash accumulated, and they shamed us for buying disposable things made from plastic (aluminum was a different outrage–most of it came from French factories that were fueled by nuclear power). Doing the right thing by climate is just not consistent with the way most Americans live their lives.

The movement is going to be under scrutiny now that there’s traction in the climate change movement–everybody has heard the Right’s favorite bromide about Al Gore’s private jet. We have to be the first to take personal responsibility for our own carbon footprint. And it’s probably not going to be a walk in the park–most other industrialized nations keep energy prices high for a variety of different reasons. As a result, people there do energy efficient things that Americans wouldn’t dream of. Many German families unplug all their ‘instant on’ appliances when not in use, for example. The Japanese recycle gray water from their dishwashers. Danes bicycle to work or school in winter weather. And then there are gas prices–upwards of $9 a gallon in Belgium and Holland, in the mid $8 range in Germany and a bit lower in France (as I write this).

And with all of these energy-saving policies in place, the EU STILL has to reduce Carbon emissions by 80% come 2030. Ponder what would have to happen to bring that number down considering what most Europeans are already doing in terms of energy. Are Americans ready to do any of this? And if they’re not, how can we stop runaway carbon and methane long enough to avoid near-term human extinction?

Thankfully, most of the eco-folks have admitted that Sunday was not the end of a process but a beginning.

Still waiting to see what ‘bold initiative’ comes out of this UN meeting.

5 Responses so far.

Click here to leave a comment
  1. SearingTruth says:

    Thank you gentle friend Misterbadexample.

    You are a treasure of humanity.
    ST

    “Don’t look for fire from the sky, look for inhumanity from within.”
    SearingTruth

    A Future of the Brave

  2. I’ve become a pessimist of late about climate and the human relationship with it (as if people here couldn’t guess). I have a small circle of acquaintances who understand the issues and the importance, but most people don’t understand the sacrifice ahead should we decide as a society that this deserves our full attention. And will our efforts at this point even matter if the methane has begun to leak uncontrollably from the ocean floor? Dunno.

    I think people should make the sacrifices anyway. We didn’t begin to understand the issues about methane and feedback loops until relatively recently. We might have missed something, and if we’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, then do.

    • monicaangela says:

      I understand exactly what you are saying MBX. The object here is to remain optimistic and believe that just as we have solved many other problems that have been a threat to man, we will also solve this one. To give our readers, those who are unfamiliar with what you are discussing in your comment an idea of what is happening regarding methane in our oceans I have decided to post the following:


      And this:


      As you say, we really do need to err on the side of getting something done rather than giving up. If temperatures are going to rise because of this occurrence we really need to start limiting our carbon emissions, recycling, using recyclable materials to prevent the need for constant production of items that will go into landfills which of course emit more methane etc. I understand your concern, and really wish more people would become interested in what you are trying to do here. The more people learn to think consciously or subconsciously about ways to combat this problem, the better off the planet will be. They say every action begins with one person and that person is often the person staring back at us in the mirror.

      Thank you so much for caring enough to keep us informed. Don’t give up on this action, don’t become a pessimist regarding what we can and cannot do in the effort to help prevent global warming. If you think about it, the effort on a large scale hasn’t even begun in the U.S. We could do much more with solar and wind than we are doing now, and as I stated in a previous comment, we could also provide an education for the populace in this nation, something that is not happening on the scale it should be happening at this time. Keep up the good work, don’t give up, we, myself and many of my friends are with you on this one and we realize that the more people discussing the problem, the more information will spread exponentially to those who need to know about and be concerned about what is happening to our planet.

  3. monicaangela says:

    I am so happy you did this follow up MBX. Education is what is needed in the U.S. Why did we have a smaller crowd on Monday than we did on Sunday? Could it be that many realize that a march on Wall Street would be met with much more resistance than Saturday’s March? I believe so.

    As for the trash, I’m sure what you are saying is correct. You do realize that any and every subject other than what the marchers were there for would be used as an excuse to skirt the real reason for the march. The MSM and their corporate buddies look for distractions in order to keep those who would rather not get involved in things that might better their lives busy with reality TV, sports, and things of that nature that are of little to no benefit to those who participate but does manage to keep them subdued and distracted.

    I too am amazed that people who came to Washington to march against climate change would be using non recyclable plastic bottles rather than glass reusable bottles. Again, it’s education. Many would like to help in the effort to reduce carbon emissions, but we don’t take enough time educating them in the many ways they are contributing to the problem. Thanks for reminding us that plastic water bottles and other forms of plastic are products that utilize oil in their manufacturing, in their transportation from one place to another, etc. We still have to commend these people, 400,000 plus who came out to demand that our government begin doing something about climate change. Maybe we should demand the government use some of the billions it takes in for elections on Environmental Education.

    I believe Americans are ready to do what many European nations are doing and more, but as long as the capitalist in this nation continue to try to place obstacles in the way of citizens it won’t be possible. Just imagine someone in Los Angeles trying to ride their bicycle to work, even in the warmer temperatures experienced in that state….they would be so exhausted by the time they got to work they wouldn’t be much of an employee. Also too, what will the capitalist do, provide a bike lane on the freeway? If we can’t get crumbling bridges fixed, I doubt if we will ever get any improvements like that in infrastructure.

    I believe the next step in this process is to educate the people in regards to how capitalistic views of the 1% prevent them from first getting an education regarding ways to improve our environment, and then even if they do get that education, they, the 1% place obstacles in our way so that it makes it entirely too costly to try to implement the improvements we would like to implement. This next step as you say is going to take much thought, but I believe if we start to look at what the obstacles are we can get to those next steps much faster.

  4. Nirek says:

    MBX, this should be our NUMBER ONE item on the agenda.


Leave your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Back to top
PlanetPOV Tweets
Ongoing Stories
Features