17 January 2007

Global Climate Change: Our Generation's Movement

A series of events has just lit a fire under me. These last few days as we celebrated the legacy of Dr. King and all others who struggled during the Civil Rights movement, I could not help but feel passion. I also could not help but think of my lack of political work since my high school years. I have justified this with the understanding that I have the privilege to be educated in a wonderful institution and it is my moral obligation to use that privilege of education to promote change in the world; that I should focus on my studies now and work toward change later. But I unrelentingly feel the hot coals in my heart ready to burst into flames.

While these thoughts lingered in my mind, I was invited by a friend to join him at a global climate workshop held at Middlebury College this weekend. At dinner, the same friend made a simple statement- "I can't think about other environmental issues while global warming is a threat!" which struck me. After talking with him about it, it became clear that he has been working on other environmental campaigns around campus but he can't stop thinking that global warming is of the highest priority. We began to discuss this at the table which developed into an intensive drive to start a movement. While getting dessert, another friend asked why I would not be playing in the snow at the Winter Carnival this weekend. I told him I couldn't because I had to make sure that I can play with my children in the snow on weekends to come.

Global climate change can and must be my generation’s movement! This past year’s release of "An Inconvenient Truth" helped to solidify the consciousness that global climate change IS an issue. In addition, the last few winters have provided us with our first direct and immediate impact of global warming; the lack of snow! Here at our small liberal arts college in the northern New England, skiing and winter sports are very important; we miss our snow. I couldn't count the number of times in the last month or two that it has been a sunny warm day (in Dec. and Jan.) and I would hear my friends say, "It’s global warming." We know why it is warm, now we need to do something.

The first step in a movement is to show people that there is a problem. I think that this year we have reached a point where the majority agrees that global climate change needs to be dealt with. But now that we are scared and aware, its time for a Turning Point! It is time to get excited, get aggressive, get behind the movement, and GET CONFIDENT!

We are starting to get scared because we are starting to recognize the severity of the situation. This is big, REAL BIG. But we MUST NOT GET DISCOURAGED! Now that it is on our minds, we must start to THINK POSITIVE and DEVELOP CONFIDENCE. We can change, and we will change. Not changing is simply not an option (neither is giving up on earth and going elsewhere).

Yesterday, I was honored to sit in a room with Rev. Ruby Sales as she told us about nonviolent change. Her clear message, the message of the weekend, and of the Civil Rights movement was that change must be driven by love and positive thinking. Further, Sales made it very clear that we must not shy away from conflict. We must embrace conflict and from it gain passion and promote change. These ideas relate directly to the movement that needs to drive our work to combat global climate change.

We must shift our consciousness about Global Climate Change from fear and thoughts of impending doom to thoughts of love for our planet and confidence that we can find the appropriate course of action to take in response to what we have learned. There is NO reason not to take action and every reason to. WE CAN DO THIS! This is our generation’s issue, though not by our choice, but it is real and ours. This must be what we rally behind and we must do it together. EVERYONE must make changes. WE CANNOT CONTINUE BUISNESS AS USUAL! WE CAN MAKE CHANGE! WE MUST MAKE CHANGE!

WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!
WE CAN DO THIS TOGETHER!
WE MUST DO THIS TOGETHER!

Please let the fire in yourself burn. Combine your fire with others, I know you feel it. Others around the country have already started to join their fires together; let's do it too!

Only a massive fire will turn down the heat.

Campus Climate Challenge Climate Neutrality SummitJanuary 19-21, 2007; Middlebury College, VT This summit, hosted by the Sierra Student Coalition and Middlebury’s student climate neutrality campaign, will be an opportunity for students to share strategies, plans and ideas, unify efforts, and discuss how climate neutrality victories on campuses can create demand for climate protection policies in broader society. The summit will be in a retreat-type format and will be primarily "open source." The summit will be free and lodging and food will be provided.


Sierra Student Coalition
Campus Climate Challenge

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jack,
It is so exciting to hear about the work you are doing. I am inspired by your enthusiasm. Let me know how I can help.
Zoeann

cara said...

We must shift our consciousness about Global Climate Change from fear and thoughts of impending doom to thoughts of love for our planet and confidence that we can find the appropriate course of action to take in response to what we have learned. There is NO reason not to take action and every reason to.

- how very inspiring. lately it seems that whenever i find myself in a discussion about our planet, i become so scared i start to sweat and fever. i am going to keep your "call to action" close to my heart, and see if i can transform my terror into positive action.

Sybil said...

Thanks for writing this.