Climate Change: Looking for Solutions, Making Demands
Last weekend, almost 400,000 people marched in New York City to call on the leaders of the world’s nations to take action to mitigate global climate change. Demonstrators marched, chanted, danced, screamed, and laughed to call attention to the fact that human-influenced global climate change is already here. If heads of state do not take policy actions now, the consequences could be catastrophic.
The march has already drawn significant attention to the issue of climate change, and for this it can be considered a success. The results of a New York Times poll conducted recently demonstrate that for the first time in history a majority of people polled agree that climate change is caused by human activity.
But now we are left with an important question. What are we calling on heads of state to do in order to mitigate climate change?
The organizers of the People’s Climate March intentionally refrained from adopting demands on the representatives attending today’s climate change summit at the UN. They left the conversation open and seemed to place their trust in heads of state to come up with viable solutions. Was this the right move, and is it reasonable for us to expect state governments to come up with viable solutions for the climate crisis?
Janet Redman of Truth-Out.org has reported that UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has convened a Private-Sector Summit today at the UN “in order to bring the voice of the private sector to inter-governmental debates on key topics.” A list of attendees is filled with some of the world’s worst corporate polluters and financers of global capitalism. Ban-Ki Moon has been one of the most outspoken campaigners for global action on climate change, but why invite the climate polluters to a special place at the negotiating table when the people directly impacted by climate change are forced to march in the streets? Does he have any ability to change what they are doing?
While heads of state give lip-service to climate change as a significant problem, their ears and pocket-books are being filled with the concerns of the corporate polluters. The type of “solutions” offered by corporate polluters are detailed lucidly detailed in Naomi Klein’s new book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Corporate polluters have proposed releasing huge amounts of sulfuric acid into the atmosphere to dissipate the sun’s intense light. Not only does this idea seem to come from a post-apocalyptic science fiction novel, but it also completely fails to address the root causes of climate change, an economic system built upon the fossil fuel industry. If corporate industries have so many creative resources, why can’t the devote their energy to making renewable energy sources, like solar energy, more efficient and accessible?
We need to stop looking to heads of state and corporate polluters for solutions to global warming. They are clearly not going to save us from a disaster of their own making.
Instead, we need to look to the people who are working at the local level, and creating solutions to real problems caused by climate change. These are the small farmers, coastal fishermen, indigenous people, and even the concerned scientists who don’t have the option to wait for a climate change solution.
We can’t wait to find solutions to climate change, and we can’t be afraid to make demands.
Click here to watch a short video on what solutions to climate change are possible.