Killer Cups

Keurig-SaleI try to recycle, be aware of the products I’m buying, what companies I give money to, and notice my ecological footprint a little better. Why? Well, besides the fact that I live on this expletive planet, I can’t really think of anything. That being said, I don’t think my acts of personal ecological pride will accumulate too much. While this may sound hypocritical, why don’t you wash your hands before you start pointing fingers? We are all raised to be hypocrites, and whether it is more nature or nurture is moot. Every day is a constant battle with hypocrisy. Take for example John Sylvan, inventor of the Keurig disposable coffee cup. While many see it as another huge waste of plastic, he saw need for an improvement in the office coffee drinking business. Now he holds his invention in regret. After selling the idea to Green Mountain they have turned it into a cigarette for coffee and they have ignored any of Sylvan’s suggestions to improve it.

Now you may, and by may I mean probably most definitely have, seen one of these things. My parents just bought two and I almost flipped my shit until they busted out the reusable cup for instant coffee. Now it’s just a fancy water heater so I can enjoy my perfectly fine instant coffee. Still anytime I want hot water I need to take out one of those little plastic cups. And every time I find myself wondering if it matters? Is all this plastic waste really hurting? Yes, and No… it’s complicated. Have a coffee.

For many the plastic waste is irrelevant because the machine itself saves on power and water use over time. But this seems like trading one pollutant for another, like instead of throwing my burger wrapper out the left side of the car, I will throw my soda cup out the right side. It is still a waste one way or another however you look at it. You may be saving on electricity but then you have an entire trash barrel full of Keurig cups at the end of the week. The cups themselves are technically recyclable, but only if you take the time to get the metal lid off the plastic and if you had to do that it would completely defeat the purpose of saving time with a coffee machine. Again the Keurig is trading pollution for time. You get an extra few minutes to add to your day plus a coffee boost, but those minutes had to come from somewhere. And in the great universal churn of energy and matter nothing is free.

It was Egg Studios in Canada that made a viral video pointing out the K-cup plastic pollution that they have seen in their work place. Plastic pollution, especially including micro-plastics in the environment are going to be around for a very long time. We need to start actively lessening our plastic use. It will take more than socially responsible individuals. It will take globally responsible corporations and governments as well. There is a massive ecological debt being piled up and we may soon find ourselves on the bottom of it. Recently, the city of Hamburg in Germany decided to ban the product entirely and get a head start on a plastic free future.

For the pessemists who say our addiction is too great, there may be an alternative drug to ween ourselves off of plastic. Hemp plastic and other materials are being designed as eco-safe alternatives to plastic. And who knows what other scientific discoveries may help us in the near future?

Until then, reuse, recycle, and research how to keep plastic use down.

 

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The Green Cities of Tomorrow

 

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Move over shining city on the hill, the green cities are moving up.

In the quest for renewable energy certain regions and cities have been paving the way but the trend still has not caught on fast enough, or perhaps as fast as we would like or need. The first thing to realize is that we have, as a society, a social responsibility to push for renewables. This is not because we are harming the planet, nature will survive us human dogs after all. It is because we are making the planet uninhabitable and truly miserable for many others without having to notice or mind it that much. It is the unnoticed problems, the unknown unknowns, that can cause the most damage. The citizens of the world that are ambitious enough to elect eco-friendly representatives and vote to act on an early transition to renewables will not only be helping others but they will also gain an advantage in the near future. Especially developing countries that may skip past their industrial phase and right into renewable technology. According to research by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) clean energy solutions create more job opportunities than the traditional fossil fuel industry does now.

So who are these champions of renewable technology, braving the way for us, these Green Heroes taking the economic risk to save their children’s future? You may have heard of Candidate Sanders, a Senator from scenic Vermont, who has said that Climate Change is our number one threat to national security. His opponents in the 2016 race may laugh at him, clearly thinking that ISIS, a religious desert guerilla terrorist organization driving pickup trucks, is a greater threat. It would be equally laughable to think that the instability of that region has anything to do with our international addiction to fossil fuels. Presidential race aside, it is the Vermont city that Sanders was once mayor of that has achieved a surprising and welcome milestone. The city of Burlington has boasted that it is running on 100% renewable energy. With its main source being hydro, the city uses a mix of biomass, wind turbines, and solar. Burlington, recognizing the reality of global warming and our toll on the planet, is now using less electricity than it did in 1989. They claim though, that this transition to a green powered city was based mainly on an economic decision. For them it is the cheapest and healthiest long-term solution for their city.

Now let us venture to a warmer climate than New England and see how a less developed country has handled the transition. In 2015 Costa Rica managed to achieve an astonishing 99% renewable energy, claiming that 285 days out of the year were fossil fuel free. The Costa Rican Electricity Institute utilizes the country’s geography of large rivers to harness hydropower for most of their energy production. They also use a mix of biomass, wind, solar, and geothermal (another local specialty). The country is already aware that it depends too much on hydro, which although renewable is not the best for the environment. They are looking to expand into geothermal and be carbon neutral by 2021.

These are just two of my favorite Western Hemisphere examples. Holland, the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf, Germany, as well as most other EU countries are also well on their way. Yet still the biggest contributors to carbon pollution and many developing nations are tearing ahead with industrial methods that now seem out dated. While some claim that there is a focused attempt to misinform, our continued use is most likely a problem because of how we talk about the problem, the language we use, the lack of education for constituents, and a perceived economic dependence. If you think about energy dependence as your weekly paycheck, no one in their right mind would continue to hold down a job if they knew it would both someday stop paying with no new job lined up and was also damaging the health of everyone around us. Soon it will be economically sound to make the green transition. For example in India, solar may soon out perform coal.

Of course, this may take the USA a little more time than the rest of the world. We are possibly the only country that out right denies climate change exists and we are at the same time most likely the main cause of said change. Sadly, better education for this topic and media coverage will not change much with our congress acting like it does, throwing snow balls and disgracing our hard earned intelligence. It will unfortunately take political change first, perhaps some insane revolution, for our country to react to this situation properly.

What is funny though, is that we do not need congress, they are merely in the way. Local governments can take charge with the help of NGOs and emerging green industries to find solutions. Like we have seen with Burlington and Costa Rica, each renewable energy solution will be different and it will be mixed. What works in the mountains may not work in the rainforest. Each region will have to come up with its own unique mix of renewables and this will take local education and local action. But it will also take a global effort to share information on what works where and what doesn’t work. This will also have to be done thinking in terms of eco-regions. Forget about your state borders. Pollution doesn’t recognize the borders we come up with. A hurricane or rising water doesn’t know what country it is hurting economically. Cape Cod has more in common with St. Johns, Newfoundland than it does Miami. If these threats do not recognize these borders, then we need to understand the ‘borders’ that it does.  This has become a huge problem in the globalized world. One country or corporation may let waste dribble downstream to the neighbors drinking water without them evening knowing. It will take a localized and a global collective to meet the challenges of the 21st century. I see no reason why eco-regions could not work together to provide safe sustainable energy.

We have seen that clean energy may even save us money in the future, so let us, the people, start laying the ground work. Find your local supporters of Green Energy, be it a political party, NGO, or even a responsible company and see what can be done. Who can argue with a cleaner smaller electricity bill?

Check out Cornelia Dinca’s experience with Amsterdam’s transformation from car to pedestrian city.

 

World War Water

A while ago I heard a story about a millionaire in Beijing who was selling air by the can. At first glance it seemed like a crude attempt to make a buck off of China’s terrible air pollution. How appalling would it be if some corporation somewhere began to sell clean air? Actually this has already started to happen; Vitality. However, Chen Guangbiao started this little scheme more as an act of protest than entrepreneurship. A clever attempt to point out that an environmental consciousness is a necessity in one of the most air polluted cities in China. If you have ever seen East-Asian tourists wearing surgical masks, you have only caught a glimpse of a fraction from the tip of the iceberg that is this problem. (Although, the practice likely originated as something to ward of germs, the trend grew recently to deal with air pollution). Originally I wanted to scream at these people when I saw them traveling, especially in the Alps. ‘This is the freshest air you could ever breathe, take that freaking mask off!’ I thought. Then I heard about Chen, I was frightened that any entity, be it man or corporate machine, could take an essential means to survival and turn it into a commodity. Then I read about Fryeburg, a town in my home state of Maine.

It turns out Nestle Waters, subsidiary of the world’s largest food and beverage company Swiss Nestle SA, bought a contract from Fryeburg Water Co. to use their spring for bottled water. Maine law states if you own the land the water is yours, making business more than profitable. The deal seemed fair, giving the small rural town a stable cash flow while retaining exclusive rights to the water well. However, opponents argued that the deal would not be good for residents in the long run. The advocacy group Food and Water Watch pointed out that profits were being given more value than public’s best interest.

After hearing complaints the town planning commission changed their minds, citing the negative impacts of pollution, noise, and traffic. Nestle sued and appealed and argued to the Maine Supreme Court that their right to grow market share superseded the town’s right of control. The following barrage of litigation brought concerned citizens into a debt of $20,000. Bruce McGlauflin, a lawyer argued that the law allows for “a supply of pure water for domestic and other uses” and doesn’t contain any provision for selling water as a commodity. In the end Nestle received a modified contract with an added provision that in cases of emergency supply could be reduced or cut for Poland Spring. A compromise at last, but somehow it seemed hollow. Nestle still got pretty much exactly what it had wanted in the first place, which was a new source for bottled water. The town however, received substantial debt from their legal battle with the multinational company. I found myself thinking, what bizarre form of democracy reduces a municipality to pay a fee just to be a part of the decision making process for one of their communities most valuable life giving resources. I could just taste the suffering from every sip when I was given a bottled water.

Today this topic may seem trivial but in the near future rights for clean usable water (and possibly even air) are poised to become more dominant issues. Soon a decision will be made, with or without the public input, as to whether access to water is a basic human right or if water is purely a commodity to be traded and bought. Over a third of the world’s population has difficulty getting access to water. If you thought this may be true but certainly not in the USA, think again. In Detroit water was more or less taken hostage from the public. Who controls these springs, wells, and other water sources may soon be able to hold any community at ransom for whatever price they decide. And who knows how soon it will be until the price doesn’t matter and a water supply for 7 Billion people just isn’t there anymore.

Denmark’s Aarhus University, Vermont Law School and the CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization has found that the world will face “insurmountable” water crises in less than three decades, especially if it does not move away from water-intensive power production. Growing water scarcity “means that we’ll have to decide where we spend our water in the future. Do we want to spend it on keeping the power plants going or as drinking water? We don’t have enough water to do both,” Sovacool said in the release. In the US and most industrial countries energy production is the biggest source of water consumption, even bigger than agriculture, researchers said. In 2005, 41 percent of all freshwater consumed in the U.S. was for thermoelectric cooling, according to the study. Water tables across the globe are lowering, aquifers are drying out and yet water has been turned into a product and an expendable energy resource. Now add to this situation a steadily increasing population and a climate that continues to be altered by this rise and you have an insanely dire scenario. Places in the world, which already struggle to gain access to clean water, are experiencing this water crisis first hand. This is especially true for areas suffering from a host of other factors besides access to water. If we continue to ignore the dilemma in these regions just because we can still buy a Poland Spring from the store it is going to put us in a dangerous situation. The red flags are waving fierce and yet the overall problem is still not getting the attention it so desperately deserves. It seems most people have just accepted the fact that they need to buy bottled water and cannot simply use their own tap. It is easier, more transportable, and fairly cheap, however it continues to aggravate the underlying problem that the public is not being guaranteed safe clean drinking water.

Recently more and more businesses are working together with the goal of using water as a product and not as a necessary public resource. All of this has happened despite a collection of water protection organizations best efforts. This commodification of water will most likely culminate a disadvantage to the public, but it does not have to. We just have to keep our eye on the ball. Now lets be realistic, no one could possibly come out and tell companies, especially in a free market, that they cannot use or sell water. There will always be a place for water in businesses but this needs to be done smarter. We owe a great deal of our social and technological progress to the use of water and this does not look like it will be changing anytime soon, as mentioned before a great deal of energy production depends on water. Better technological advances can be used and funded to help keep our water clean and drinkable, as well as lessen our use overall. Legislation can also be used to protect water sources, instead of allowing for polluting loopholes. The fight over how water is used does not need to be the public versus corporations. These battles normally don’t play out well. For decades lobbyists have spent millions of dollars trying to degrade the Clean Water Act protecting Americas aquifers and springs and have been successful. The public just doesn’t have the resources to protect their own resources. Corporate culture needs to be reigned in so that businesses can work together with customers and communities to make sure water can be used for sale and still have clean public access. Such a precious resource cannot be squabbled over in such a way without resulting in a negative outcome.

Many communities have actually praised practices of some companies handling of water; they are not the all-evil entities some would have us believe. They are capable of brining in much needed commerce and jobs to areas in desperate need. Companies who give back to the public, not in the form of bribery but in the form of mutual understanding and cooperation, can still do business while not putting the community itself at risk of losing clean and fair access. Respect of this natural resource by all parties should be the goal. While it might seem like a daunting task and counter to the corporate norm it is not impossible. However, it will require a much wider public consensus, for as long as some areas are offering up springs to be polluted for profit, these companies will continue to migrate their exploitation. Without a concentrated plan good water may become more and more scarce overtime. The first step to solving a problem is acknowledging it; the next step is cooperated action.

Just the other day people from a water protection organization stopped by my door asking for donations. While it was refreshing and uplifting to know that such an organization was getting its people out canvassing and spreading the word, my first thought brought me back to Fryeburg. Apparently the public has to pay out of pocket to have a say in how water is treated and used in this country. The only problem is our pockets are not as deep as the people polluting our water. We have the technology and the organization, there are numerous non-profits fighting for water rights and against pollution yet the problem remains. The paper tyranny is strong in the new corporate culture. If we don’t heavily encourage new protecting legislation through grassroots organization, if we can’t respect our most precious resource, we will be playing a global game of finders keepers, losers die of water poisoning and dehydration.

To help and learn more check out:

Environment America

Food and Water Watch

Charity: Water

Miya

Water.org

Columbia Water Center

Three Avocados

Waterislife

Puremadi

 

More Recently the dispute between Nestle and Fryeburg Water Co. has come to a head where the government will soon decide if the mega Multinational Company has more right than the local populace when it comes to water management.

Read about it;

https://bangordailynews.com/2016/02/29/opinion/contributors/maine-is-opening-its-water-supply-to-bulk-water-mining-that-puts-us-all-at-risk/

http://www.wcsh6.com/news/nation/inspiring-tweets-from-scott-kellys-yearinspace/65153993

http://www.conwaydailysun.com/newsx/local-news/124926-fryeburg-water-case-has-day-in-court

 

 

The Fire Rises

tumblr_m82ho1EMPu1rcglgbo1_1280There are few things that compare to the awesome pageantry of a good international convention. The dignitaries, the cameras, the hand holding, late night squabbling, the closed doors, the squaring off of police and protester; it is simply a marvelous occasion. It brings about an air of accomplishment and is usually a sign of good faith that we are on the right path. That is what I thought about the Vienna Convention … for the protection of the ozone layer. It and subsequent additions forming the Montreal Protocol have been regarded as one of the most effective when it comes to international environmental treaties. Any convention is a long drawn out process and with states vying for different interests it can be difficult to find compromise. However, with the Montreal Protocol most ozone depleting substances were controlled and eventually reduced. So we see that it is not impossible for us to come together to combat climate change and CO2 emissions. There is something that resembles hope here.

In December 2015 the Conference of Parties 21 U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change met in Paris with a goal to put the world’s nations in motion towards a reducing CO2 levels. The UNFCCC was signed in 1992 and has been signed by almost every country at the UN. While some may protest that the objective was to produce a fear mongering free-market destroying machine, this is hardly the case. No, actually it was to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Protocols and amendments have been added to the convention and this shows potential progress, but will it be enough. The convention aims to keep the global average temperature well below 2 C (3.6 degrees in Freedom Units) and to limit the increase past 1.5 C, which would still be above pre-industrial levels. It also seeks to not conflict with global food production and attempts to ease financial cooperation to reduce greenhouse gasses.

Is this the turning point in controlling human interference with the world climate that many have been looking for? Is this the convention’s Montreal Protocol? Let us look to the agreement itself. It has added a few things that may become game changers. For instance, nationally determined contributions (NDCs), a worldwide voluntary collection basket. This may help get money to developing countries who need it most and the donations are of course made record. A Global Stocktake will then evaluate every 5 years what has been done and what still needs to be done.

The agreement itself uses a lot of interesting language. There are a lot of ‘strongly urges’ going around, like for the 100-billion-dollar collection target. It basically encourages Parties to compromise. This is not uncommon for international treaties. In the world of states not even international governance trumps a state’s sovereignty. It will be up to national governments to bring some haste for reduction. Until then it will be up to the non-Party stake holders, better known as people or citizens, who are also not forgotten in the text.

The treaty also includes things for Non-party stake holders as well. It was nice of them to mention us at least. Us being the human beings and poor citizens of Gotham that are not state actors or super heroes but may also have a stake in the environment. The treaty points out and recognizes the important role of providing incentives for emission target reduction, including domestic policies and carbon pricing as tools (137).

The inclusion of the identification of anthropogenic emissions could turn out to be a great addition. So long as they are identified they are left in the treaty but if the Party wants to leave it out then they just have to have an explanation as to why. So if one country tries to snake around a certain emission creating industry or company and continue to allow it to happen, it will at least be made note of.

Then there are the articles. Now this is some good stuff, right in article 2 they already want to hold the global temperature well below 2C above pre industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. A very brief overview follows:

Article 3: Efforts to reduce temperature should be undertaken and communicated

Article 4: Aims to reach peak point and continue reduction, while acknowledging developing countries special circumstances

Article 5: Conserve and enhance reservoirs of greenhouse gases

Article 6: Deals with voluntary cooperation of their nationally defined contributions, mitigations of green house gases

Article 7: Adaptation capacity, it is good to be flexible

Article 8: Cooperation to avoid maximum damage, early warning systems, emergency preparedness

Article 9: Developed country shall provide financial resource

Article 10: Technology sharing framework

Article 11: Developing countries and small islands will need help (we should not let them lag behind especially when it comes to emission targets)

Article 12: Public participation and awareness (as appropriate)

Article 13: Transparency framework, super important

Article 14: Long term goals to be achieved, this is the refereed to Global Stocktake

Article 15: Compliance and implementation mechanism

Article 16: The conference of the parties and its role as meeting and communicating body

Article 17: Secretariat

Article 18: Subsidiary body for scientific and technological advice

Article 19: Other bodies must gain further approval

Article 20: Ropes in regional economic integrated organizations, interested parties may go to New York to sign

Article 21: This Agreement shall enter into force on the thirtieth day after the date on which at least 55 Parties to the Convention accounting in total for at least an estimated 55 percent of the total global greenhouse gas emissions have deposited their instruments of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession.

Article 22: The provisions of Article 15 of the Convention on the adoption of amendments to the Convention shall apply mutatis mutandis to this Agreement.

Article 23: Article 16 mutatis

Article 24: Article 14 mutatis

Article 25: Each party one vote, regional organizations

Article 26: Secretary general of UN shall be depositary of agreement

Article 27: No reservations to agreement

Article 28: Terms of leaving agreement

Article 29: Different languages are available, which is certainly helpful.

All in all, it is a pretty solid plan, the trick is following through. Criticism should be brought up though around its lack of focus on those suffering directly from climate change. The agreement acknowledges ‘that climate change is a common concern of humankind, Parties should, when taking action to address climate change, respect, promote and consider their respective obligations on human rights, the right to health, the rights of indigenous peoples’ local communities, migrants, children, persons with disabilities and people in vulnerable situations and the right to development, as well as gender equality, empowerment of women and intergenerational equity’. This is the only mention of migrants in the treaty, probably one of the most recognizable groups of non-party actors that are directly suffering from rising global temperature. There is still a lot of red-tape in the way of true progress. Some of the poorest nations that require climate aid are being refused the money they need from the funds because of accreditation issues. Unfortunately, this line of action may be the only way to combat global pollution. In fact, while the meetings were held 300 people were arrested in Paris for protesting and clashing with police in the streets. Sorry hippie eco-terrorists, states’ interests first, the fire hasn’t risen yet.

As for charging ahead, CNN’s John Sutter offers five important next steps. 1. Ratify the Agreement 2. End fossil fuel subsidies 3. Utilize Global Carbon Tax 4. Work Toward Political Consensus 5. Invest in Green Technologies. This is the kind of creative, optimistic, and apparently practical solutions that could be adopted. But some say it is not even close to enough.

James Hansen, an atmospheric scientist, had this to say about Paris. “It’s a fraud really, a fake,” he says, rubbing his head. “It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words. There is no action, just promises. As long as fossil fuels appear to be the cheapest fuels out there, they will be continued to be burned.” In the Guardian article he argues it will be too little too late to stop the major effects of climate change. He further supposes that only massive action against carbon burning could help now.

Maybe Hansen is right. Maybe even if these countries could really band together, achieve net zero emissions and hold emitters responsible the worst will still arrive. Although looking forward to some beach front property being destroyed might be comforting, more damage will always be done to those that are thought of least when the negotiations are going on. We should not give up on them or the future so easily.

We live in an interesting time. We have, and maybe always have had, the tools to sustain a healthy environment. But there is something holding us back from achieving that. We are actively being pressured into inaction. How can we believe that fierce steps must be taken to tackle climate change when we have articles like this, touting how we have never lived in such peaceful and safe times, when we may be living in one of the most dangerous moments in human history?

G20 countries are spending $452 billion US a year subsidizing their fossil fuel industries and are undermining the world’s effort to combat climate change in the process, according to a new international report by an environmental advocacy group Oil Change International. Getting rid of fossil fuel subsidies, however scary for the economy, may be completely necessary to avoid global crisis. And here we have states destroying their own progress. Spain recently approved a Sun Tax. ¿De verdad? ¿Estas loco? Tax the sun?! Which basically ruins any advantage the solar renewable industry had over competing energy sources.

Apparently it also isn’t enough that they are ignoring efforts to stop burning fossil fuels, they are also attacking those who would change this mindset. In France before the summit 24 environmental activists were put under house arrest. And if house arrest isn’t scary enough for you, last year the number of green activist deaths per year rose to 116. Why is there a triple digit death counter for activists? The group Global Witness has pointed out that this number could even be higher. “In Honduras and across the world environmental defenders are being shot dead in broad daylight, kidnapped, threatened, or tried as terrorists for standing in the way of so-called development,” said Billy Kyte, a campaigner at Global Witness. “The true authors of these crimes – a powerful nexus of corporate and state interests – are escaping unpunished. Urgent action is needed to protect citizens and bring perpetrators to justice.”

Ah yes, the powerful nexus. The shadow businessmen, with grey suits, smooth cigarettes, and quaaludes. The Bruce Waynes of the world, running around in capes. However, it is you picture them they continue to insist that economic security comes before environmental security. This bold and cold assertion may be the biggest road block to a convention or agreement that works. It is also ironically contradictory to the Pentagon’s January report over global warming and potential risks it will cause as a ‘threat multiplier’. From terrorism to disease we will be facing a new world of fear in the near future. The Department of Defense is willing to admit it. The money junkies are all too ready to deny it. The politicians are ready to ignore it. So it looks like it is up to the people (again) to bring about the ideal change we need.

If you are reading this, you at least understand English. A perfectly adequate language to communicate ideas. And through language we acknowledge history. We can understand that humans are awesome machines capable of making the very planet they inhabit uninhabitable, from Easter Island to the Dust Bowl. And all people of all nations can cooperate and find solutions that work for everybody. Many countries, like Germany and other in the EU, are leading the way in green technology. Unfortunately, in the USA we have a House of Representatives barely willing to admit that global warming is a threat, not to mention possibly one of our generation’s greatest challenges. Fortunately, there is a bright side to globalization. NGOs and individuals are organizing and sharing information and strategies across borders on how to get better results and better domestic policy when it comes to climate change action.

To find a model for appropriate climate change action one should no longer look up to the shining capitol on the hill, but at the bottom of the hill. Closer to the water. Ask; what would Fiji do? Under its national climate action plan, Fiji pledged to generate 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It also promised to cut overall emissions from its energy sector by 30% by 2030 compared to business-as-usual, conditional on it receiving climate finance from industrialized nations.

And if you think that high ground will save you remember that global warming is a threat to all ecosystems, but it is an even greater threat to colder climates in the Northern Hemisphere. If you still are not convinced you need to vote for a climate aware representative let us say for a laugh, that pollution, emissions, reliability on non-renewables, that all this does not in fact cause climate change. Let us pretend the kids will be alright. Any human being still shouldn’t have their water poisoned, their daily commute turned into a choking hazard, and their children’s future and their own wellbeing beholden to an economic model that can’t possibly sustain itself in any real sense of the word. We are still waiting for McGovern’s 1972 revolution and for Obama’s change, but only we can give ourselves that through democratic participation and institutional change. There is no reason the USA can’t make an amendment calling for the protection of earth and her shared and fragile ecosystems. As the earth continues to warm we must not give into the fear of the free hand of the do what-ever-the-hell-it-wants market. The fire is rising, but now is not the time for fear