Yesterday I wrote about my wish for the new year and beyond, that masses of people would act to reduce fossil fuel use, to decrease environmental damage from the resulting greenhouse gas emissions. I continue to wonder how we can make that happen. If it does not, the extinction of humans is assured, and much sooner than people realize.
The 2013 article in the Washington Post referenced below lists the following steps needed to create change.
- Create a sense of urgency around the need for change.
- Form a guiding coalition.
- Create a vision for change.
- Communicate the vision.
- Remove obstacles.
- Create short-term wins.
- Build on the change.
We have been having trouble making progress with reducing CO2 emissions because we are having trouble creating a sense of urgency, #1 above. Two reasons for that are
- CO2 is invisible, and
- The fossil fuel industry has actively suppressed and distorted information about the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions.
There is now a gradually increasing sense of urgency as a result of the emergence of the consequences of increased greenhouse gas emissions, including changing weather patterns like the intense rainfall (Houston), changing patterns of extreme cold, increasing severity of hurricanes, more intense wildfires, large and prolonged areas of drought, rising sea levels, etc.
I mentioned the difficulty in understanding carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and production, because CO2 is invisible. This makes it easy for people to ignore the problem of CO2 emissions, and stymies efforts to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. CO2 is one of the main greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.
The following videos provide ways to visualize CO2 emissions.
We are in a fight for our very survival. It is up to those of us who understand this to educate our friends and neighbors who do not. Visualizations such as the ones below may help with this.
It is probably best to avoid terms like “global warming” that have become politically charged. We have to use the principles of nonviolence, which are based upon listening to others, and bringing divergent viewpoints together. We have to work to de-escalate how these conversations often go. We have to begin by engaging those we think disagree with us, and listening to why they feel the way they do.