Public Comment

The Other Global Crisis

By James Carter
Thursday October 09, 2008 - 09:39:00 AM

The other day Al Gore—hardly a revolutionary—told those gathered at the Clinton Global Initiative that global warming is accelerating with such speed that it may be necessary for environmentalists to undertake actions of civil disobedience in order to prevent the construction of more coal burning power plants and other threats to the planet.  

Coming from someone like Al Gore, this should show all of us how dangerous the current situation is regarding climate change 

If we do not act quickly and in a big way, forests will burn, crops will fail, oceans will die, coastal areas will flood, species will vanish. 

In fact these things are already happening. 

We don’t have time to waste.  

We must push for a positive program immediately; we must do educational “greening” events so people who are not environmentalists can learn about global warming and what they can do about it; we must fight for the development of alternative energy technology, better efforts at conservation, more tax credits for solar, wind, geothermal, biodiesel, support for the Apollo Program. 

We must criticize candidates who claim the solution to global warming includes the development of “clean coal,” nuclear power, ethanol, off-shore drilling, and other phony and downright dangerous technologies posing to be green and clean. 

We must unite with other like-minded organizations—groups with the same goals should merge, or at the very least existing green business organizations should work closely together to fight global warming and develop a sustainable plan for our cities, our states, our nation, especially now when the entire economy is in trouble and needs to be retooled.  

Who is going to offer a vision about the new economy to those in Washington who are most concerned about protecting the status quo?  

Who is going to represent green businesses and other environmentalists when Congress and Wall Street say they are going to “fix” the economy? I don’t know about you but it sounds to me like the fix is in.  

Who is going to push for a new sustainable model of development? What organization(s) are going to do the hard work of creating public opinion so we can pressure politicians to develop a new economy where business is good for the environment rather than the current model, a gas-and-coal powered furnace that burns resources and spews greenhouse gases into the atmosphere?  

We need to actively promote and establish a new economic model that can develop new clean technologies and manufacture them here at home, create clean green jobs, while embracing real efforts at conservation that will protect the planet and help revive it.  

Environmentalists, especially in the green business movement, need to combine efforts and resources to make these things happen. 

We owe it to the next generation to take up this battle.  

We owe it to the planet that sustained us and our ancestors and will sustain our children and their children. 

Those of us—individuals, businesses and cities—that have made progress in the battle against global warming need to take the lessons we have learned and share them with towns and cities and villages and hamlets and individuals around the country and around the world. We cannot simply act locally. 

We need to share resources, exchange and spread information and knowledge.  

This is not a time for the green business movement to become territorial, possessive, or lax.  

It is not a time for people to engage in endless conversations about structural issues that can best be resolved in the context of doing the work we must do. 

This is a time for positive, bold, and assertive action. 

This is a time to actively help businesses develop sustainable business practices, to organize green businesses so they can actively work to develop a sustainable economy locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. 

This is a time to promote green businesses that have products and services that will reduce global warming and conserve natural resources. 

This is a time for political action and coalition building, both achieved by good old fashioned grassroots organizing and hard work. And as we do these things we must always keep in mind our goals, the reasons we are doing this—to fight global warming and conserve natural resources.  

As the words to the song go: If not us, who? If not now, when? 

James Carter is a Berkeley resident.