I received an excellent email today. To me, a good email raises my energy level (and I got several good emails today) — but an excellent email gives me something to do that raises my energy level even more.
The email was from 350.org, which I wrote about two weeks ago and added to the top of my blogroll. Here is what it gave me to do, and what I’m suggesting you do, too: sign up to ask your alma mater to divest from fossil fuels. It’s a joy to sign up: you get real-time information on others who signed up one minute ago, one second ago, and so on. 350.org is well organized and becoming more muscular by the month.
If you’re getting ready to click elsewhere, away from a feeling of discomfort about global warming, I can relate. I feel discomfort writing, even thinking about global warming, because it’s just too damned big. And if the largest scientific consensus that the world has ever had is correct, our earth’s climate is destabilizing rapidly, with dire consequences ahead. The evidence is everywhere: for example, Arctic sea ice the size of the U.S. melted this past year.
But, try sitting with your discomfort about global warming. You and I are strong enough to deal constructively with it*. Our ancestors faced big, hard things, too, and they had far less resources than we have with which to solve problems. Let’s interrupt our obsessions about our careers, our houses and social schedules (I’m guilty of all these, periodically) to work for something more important and more lasting. Like a stable climate.
The one reservation I have about 350.org is that I’m not sure it realizes the full implications of divestment. If big oil and big coal are forced by divestiture to change their status quo, everyone’s lifestyle status quo will end up changing, too. The truth is that we’re all addicted to cheap energy, and need to divest ourselves from that addiction, too. Some juicy future blog posts here. Interestingly, even here in rainy Portland, my household’s new solar panels are producing as much electricity as we’re using in a year (good energy conservation is the other part of that equation). But the fact that renewable energy can equate to a household’s real-time electricity use is a source of hope.
*74% of those who have taken my survey said they’re definitely or possibly interested in reading articles about dealing constructively with global warming. That’s nice, because I’m going to write about it in any event. I’ll make use of the excellent Climate Access site (subtitled Sharing What Works) to become a better communicator about it. Global warming is a difficult topic. But then, as M. Scott Peck pointed out in his landmark book The Road Less Traveled, life is difficult.