“Climate change is real, it is happening right now. It is the most urgent threat facing our entire species, and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating.”
“And there’s no question that there are contradictions. I just flew in from Japan. And flying is a very carbon-intensive activity…I contribute to putting green energy in continents like Africa. This is just to compensate for what I’ve put out – it doesn’t mean I’ve reduced my footprint.”
See my face
Not a trace
- The Sex Pistols, “Seventeen”
Listen up, we need to act. Now. Climate change is an urgent threat. We need to stop procrastinating. It is so exasperating, trying and trying to get the message across that we are in grave danger. In fact, it is so exasperating, maybe the best thing to do is get together and come up with a game plan. The only way we’re going to get off fossil fuels is to put our heads together and strategize.
Video conference, anyone? Well, that doesn’t sound very fun…have you ever been to Thailand ? There’s a climate change conference there this fall. That one’s going to be great, the keynote speakers are from India and Australia. Or how about Paris? That’s in November. Poland isn’t until December… Oh wait a minute, there’s Spain in October, maybe that’s an option… Too bad you missed Cyprus earlier this year, it was so good for the environment.
You know what you should do though, if you really care about climate change and its impacts? The United Nations’ Sustainable Development group is holding a High-Level Midterm Review in 2019, about how to stop using fossil fuels in development, and you’ll want to catch that one in New York in September. It would still be worth going even if you can’t make it to the four Preparatory Meetings being held this year in Mauritius, Belize, Tonga, and Samoa. Hard to get to but so worth it. They do such a good job organizing these things. I haven’t checked the rest but wow you should see the location in Mauritius, it looks like the kind of place I could really sit back and think about the climate. Imagine sitting by that pool complex and working on a speech to give back home about the need to get off fossil fuels. I bet the place is LEED certified triple platinum too.
Do you find all of this a bit dumbfounding? I understand that it might well be; it is a dizzying array of options. Maybe you’d prefer to stick with one, hmm, what would you call it, one “conference series,” that might make more sense rather than these higgledy-piggledy random things. Good news for you then, the United Nations has a great series, if you don’t mind a bit of travel. And I’m sure you don’t, because there is nothing as meditative as flying over an ocean for six hours. One gets into a very reflective state, and all that ocean reminds us just how big this global climate problem really is. How do we constrict petroleum supply enough to keep all this from happening, to prevent all I can see below me from being flooded out…At any rate, here are the locations of the United Nations Climate Change Conference series to date; you can check to see if they hit places that resonate with you:
2006: Nairobi, Kenya
2007: Bali, Indonesia
2008: Poznan, Poland
2009: Copenhagen, Denmark
2010: Cancun, Mexico
2011: Durban, South Africa
2012: Doha, Qatar
2013: Warsaw, Poland
2014: Lima, Peru
2015: Paris, France
2016: Marrakech, Morocco
2017: Bonn, Germany
2018: Katowice, Poland
But that’s kind of boring, right? I mean, if you stick with the series, would you really have wanted to go to Poland 3 times in 11 years? Kind of silly. It’s a big world out there!
Maybe check out one of the other climate series if you’re looking for something a little different, or if those locations aren’t speaking to you. The Environment and Climate Change Conference series looks like the kind of thing that will really get you thinking about the environment, given that it has so many interesting perspectives. This year’s will be held in Bucharest, Romania, and, this being a global issue, the last 4 were held in San Francisco (2014), Alicante, Spain (2015), Dubai (2016), and Melbourne (2017). Now that’s the kind of global perspective we need to get us back on the right track of reducing our fossil fuel usage. You know what’s so great about these things too is the people you meet. In Bucharest, for example, the speaker lineup is amazing, truly inspirational. Can you think of a better way to get a global vision of the problems we face than by having speakers flown in from Germany, the UK, Uganda, Ukraine, India, USA, Nepal, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Chile, Bangladesh, Pakistan, UK again, Iran, India again, Pakistan again, Morocco, Germany again, Armenia, Ethiopia again, India again, Norway, Nepal, Philippines, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh again, China, Zimbabwe, Nepal again, Ethiopia again, and West Africa? Wow, those organizers have done a fantastic job. You can tell by the conference’s theme: “Exploring new horizons & Sustainable technologies to heal the earth.” It’s transformational to see the magic that happens when you throw a Nepalese, an Ethiopian, a Brit, an Armenian and a couple Bangaldeshis in the same room. Don’t be surprised if they pop out of a breakout room with a solid plan to rewire the world’s electrical grids to the capability required to handle all those electric vehicles that are coming.
Back to reality. Don’t you just love poetry? Isn’t it fascinating how eight words from an anarchic, snarling punk band can eloquently crystallize the shameless madness that underlies what these luminaries have to say about the environment, when they live jet-set lifestyles that 90 percent of the world can only dream about?
Sharp-eyed climaters will point out that Dr. Suzuki buys carbon credits and therefore travels guilt free. It would be great to see his calculations, because he indirectly (and ironically) brings up a major problem that is never addressed. Do his carbon offsets include provisions for the finding, development, production, processing and transportation of the plane’s fossil fuels? And what about the environmental footprint of building and maintaining airports, all necessary so that he can fly? These are the burdens that were placed on Energy East – to justify building it, it was deemed necessary to calculate and include all that – so that’s the new benchmark right? Does Dr. Suzuki factor into his calculations that it is millions of Dr. Suzukis doing exactly what he does that creates all the emissions? And that buying offsets for a plane’s fuel is mockingly ironic, because to burn that fuel for travel requires the entire global infrastructure that consumes all those fossil fuels he tries so very hard to keep in the ground?
Yes, I know, I’m also guilty of disrespect; here I am clearly mocking the globetrotters. Here’s an olive branch. Let’s all tackle this together. There is a simpler and cheaper way that is not controversial to anyone. Go get a marker and write “How to quit using fossil fuels” across the nearest mirror. And then look at it.