The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution

It’s mostly us.

Many of us have heard of the idea of planning policy to consider effects seven generations downline. We’re pretty smart. It shouldn’t be that hard. But we have many incentives to think short term. Sometimes so short that we are ignorantly and apathetically victimizing our descendants.

But I’m going to challenge you to embrace this ultimate new year’s resolution…

How high does a barrel of oil have to get before we embrace the reality of our future and do something before our apathy victimizes us all?

- via Canada22: Who Will We Be Over the Next 7 Generations?

“To decarbonize the energy system very deeply would require a scale of effort unlike anything seen almost anywhere in the world.”

via Dangerous Global Warming Closer Than You Think, Climate Scientists Say: Scientific American.

Let’s do it. Let’s leave it in the ground.

Let’s leave the tar sands in there, let’s also spend the next generation getting off the dangerous nuclear power. Remember Fukushima?

Let’s use our expensive, peak oil carbon energy to build a post-carbon energy infrastructure. Let’s create our future energy out of renewable sources like geothermal, hydropower, solar, and wind.

Let’s embrace high speed rail, mothball the airplanes, explore dirigibles, wean ourselves off of international trade requiring massive gas guzzling container ships.

Let’s add greenhouse gases to the market prices, instead of naively relegating it to an externality that is just [sniff] too hard for our weak-ass brains [sniff] to calculate.

Let’s start next week.

Let’s make 2014 the year we seriously begin to decarbonize. And if any politician or business “leader” or pundit or carbon-funded “scientist” tries to convince us that tarsands and liquid natural gas and coal and using food to fuel our cars is a good choice, we need to confront them and remove them from their office.

I know you want to lose 10 pounds and exercise more. That’s great too.

But that won’t do much when we are eroding the interconnected systems that keep our world sustainable.

Here’s a good place to start: 350.org.

Join us! I dare you.

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Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Upright, left-leaning.
Stephen Elliott-Buckley is a husband, father, former suburban Vancouver high school English and Social Studies teacher who changed careers because the BC Liberal Party has been working hard to ruin public education. He has various English and Political Science degrees and has been writing political, social and economic editorials since November 2002. Stephen is in Twitter, Miro and iTunes, and the email thing, and at his website, dgiVista.org.

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4 thoughts on “The Ultimate New Year’s Resolution”

  1. What does it look like to join you? I mean I’m totally in, but what do I do to “seriously begin to decarbonize”?

    I already don’t own a car, freezer, clothes drier, or A/C, and I’ve got solar panels for electricity, but I still heat my house with natural gas. Do I have to get a fireplace and go completely off-grid – using zero fossil fuels – because my neighbours already think I’m a bit weird for the panels?

    I already write to Harper enough he sent my an 8×10 signed glossy as if he’s a rock star getting fan mail, but my letters aren’t having much of an effect. I can’t convince many of my students that climate change is a tragedy caused by our unfettered use of energy, so I can’t convince them to write angry letters or protest either. They tolerate having the lights off when I teach on sunny days, but I can’t get other teachers to turn them off as well.

    I’ll keep trying on all these fronts, but I fear there are more of them than us. Most people just won’t fight to end their own conveniences. Not yet, and, therefore, not nearly soon enough.

    Like the plethora of sites that tell us HOW to lose ten pounds with one neat trick, we need to know the next steps. HOW do we convince the elites – or even just our neighbours and friends – to radically change our world? How do we change the minds of the many who are happy with Harper? How radical are we willing to be to save our species?

    1. well, to start, i think you’re way past the beginning stage.

      panels don’t make you weird, they make you ahead of the curve.

      heating with gas is better than oil, but not as good as electricity, if you’re in bc. but you’re in ontario, so the carbon footprint of heating with electricity may be better than gas, with all the nukes in ontario. [but that's another risk; germany is closing all its nuclear plants].

      an electric boiler may be a solution when it’s time to replace your heating system. a fireplace would have a carbon footprint, but i’m not sure if it would be more or less than an electric furnace/boiler.

      harper IS a rock star! :)

      teachers, i find, are not a terribly progressive bunch. i knew maybe 5% of people on staff, when i was a teacher, who understood what walking the talk looks like. but keep trying and cling to those colleagues who do get it.

      we convince the elites by threatening their power. elected or wannabe-elected politicians need our support. if we can mobilize to hold that support in the balance, based on obeying our climate agenda, we will win. it’s mobilizing that effort. but when the federal green party [generally a pro-capitalist/consumer party] SUPPORTS the tarsands, we have a long way to go.

      and it may just make more ice storms, calgary/toronto floods and effects of climate change to wake up the apathetic and complacent people. but by then it may be too late. we’ll have to see.

  2. It sure took me a long time to wake up, but I think I’ve made some strides. It finally dawned on me back in 2000 that tearing up the back roads for fun and sport while spewing fuel out the tailpipe was not a good thing. So I stopped riding motorcycles. We then sold the boat, truck and trailer, my wife gave her sports car to her son (he conveniently graduated and got a job), and I moved job locations, began walking to work and sold my “work” car. I’ve mostly sworn off air travel and take most of my holidays in the garden which is also my gym and meditation centre. I have no kids of my own, being content to play dad to my wife’s youngster, and now his two (and out) nippers. He and I have started a local Transition Towns group and are pretty actively engaged in the slog to get our community to invest in human values, local economy and resilience. It’s unfortunate that I pissed away so many decades behind the cloud of “living well”. Thanks for a timely ad cogent post, along with the rest of the blog.

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