Sunday, November 19, 2006

global warming conference

I just read an article at CNN.com on a climate conference in Nairobi, Kenya,
" Climate Conference Agrees on Next Steps" but I'm not sure the title captures the end product. In essence, "poor but fast-growing" countries like China and India did not want mandatory emissions cutbacks until the US was forced to also.

I understand that the US is considered by some as a "global leader" but this is just a copout. I'm sorry, but if the US is NOT acting as a role model or a positive leader, countries should not wimp out on setting a positive example because the US doesn't. Every country should stand by their own behavior and understand the consequences they inflict on others who played no part in causing the problems.

As Kenyan environmentalist, Sharon Looremetta, from the nomadic Maasai people was quoted in the article, "We don't drive 4x4 cars, we don't go on vacation by airplane, but we do suffer from climate change." Their country suffers a severe drought that has killed many of the Maasai people's cattle.

In this era of corporate and political resistance, what it comes down to for the short-term is what you and I can do. You may not feel like changing a single light-bulb makes a difference, but it's like that parable about the boy walking on the shore tossing dying starfish back in the ocean and someone telling him he can't possibly save all the starfish and he responds "yes but it makes a difference for this life" as he tosses an individual starfish back, and so on.

Taking personal action makes synergistically more impact than merely the small amount of emissions reduced from that one light bulb, or even from the collective impact of your environmentally sensitive lifestyle as you change certain behaviors (reducing energy use, choosing green energy, etc.). Each person's choices also influences their neighbors, as well as reinforcing your own beliefs, starting a slow revolution in thought. I find the more I do, the more keen I am for doing increasingly more for the environment. I've been a lifelong environmentalist, but I've really started doing more and more the past couple years (buying bulk, trying to buy organic food and body care products etc), and I keep trying to see where I can do yet more.

For global warming, there's more to be done than just using fluorescent light bulbs (I've started to change mine!). You can choose local products more often (less transport emissions), voluntarily offset your airplane and travel emissions to make travel carbon-neutral by donating to organizations like Climate Care or Carbon Neutral, and convincing your local leaders and politicians through letters - or voting - that you care about global warming and demand that politicians quit appeasing corporate interests at the expense of the global common good.

Now go get some fluorescent light bulbs!

2 comments:

dEEPS said...

Nice to read this!

Im from India, and ur right.. we Indians dont look upto the US. Its just an excuse we found - not taking initiative in the environmental pact (eg. We didnt support the Afghan/Iraqi war and we rejected US request for military bases).

To be pretty frank, the politicians here are least bothered abt the people in the first place, lest bother about the environment.

For example, its not unusual to have an uneducated person as the Minister for Forest Conservation (!) U can imagine the state of affairs then!

But maybe ur wrong that India is a 'poor' country.. If we Indians flush out all the money earned from corruption out of each politician's pocket, my country would be as rich enough to pay the world bank dues and lend money to it as well.. overnight!

I live in south India (a coastal city called Chennai). Last december, we had the worst climate change experience.. atleast 5-6 storms. Each one flooded our city (this is supposed to be one of the top cities in India). Life came to a halt and pain for 45 days.. no exams, no colleges, no schools, no nothing. This is all caused by deforestation and other climate-plundering activities. So many diseases this monsoon as well. Infact, i had a chance to read ur article only bcos im infected with 'conjunctivitis' and am at home for a week now!

Well, some environmentalist should come to power as Indian PM and as US President. Thats the only way out!

Wendee Holtcamp said...

Well global warming can't be all bad if it caused storms that stopped school - ha ha! :)

Seriously, thanks for taking the time to comment!