MOBILIZING TO COMBAT THE CLIMATE CRISIS

It’s Old Hat for the US!

By

Budd Titlow

http://www.buddtitlow.com

Paraphrasing President John F. Kennedy: We choose to conquer the climate crisis not because it’s easy—but because it’s hard. Because the challenge is one we are unable to postpone and one we intend to win for the preservation of all future generations of human life on this planet.

The United States is perfectly primed to lead the world’s mobilization toward resolution of our climate crisis. Throughout our history, we’ve successfully mobilized to overcome many existential threats—not just once, but many times. In fact, there are already several US precedents in place for using legislative action to stand up to huge corporations, getting them to completely change how they do business.

After Pearl Harbor—in a matter of weeks—we mobilized our assembly lines and factories to produce bombers and tanks instead of cars and trucks. In the process, we helped save the world from the scourge of Nazi domination. 

Next—holding true to President Kennedy’s words—we figured out how to send men to the moon in less than a decade.

Then—starting in the late sixties—we had the battles with the US automobile industry over toxic exhaust pollution (“brown clouds”). In the end, we forced the US auto industry to retool their assembly lines to produce vehicles that ran on unleaded gasoline and used catalytic converters.

On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was held, a sign of the serious interest in environmental protection was beginning to take hold. The brainchild of Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson, Earth Day spotlighted such problems as thermal pollution of the atmosphere, dying lakes, the profusion of solid waste, ruinous strip mining, catastrophic oil spills, and dwindling natural resources. As a pivotal event in the environmental movement, the first Earth Day emphasized that the obsession with industrial growth and consumerism was straining the environment to the breaking point and introduced the idea of living lightly on the Earth.[i]

After the first Earth Day was over, Nelson mulled over what had just occurred—the greatest demonstration of public support for a cause in US history: “No one could organize 20 million people, 10,000 grade schools and high schools, 2,500 colleges and 1,000 communities in three and a half months even if he had $20 million. [Nelson had just $190,000.] The key to the whole thing was the grass roots response.”[ii]

All concerned climate change activists would do well to study the unequivocal success of the first Earth Day. The unexpected magnitude of the response to this landmark event clearly shows what can be done when the political and social moods of the country collide, coming together with a message that says, “Let’s get something done.” Furthermore, the resulting outpouring of federal environmental legislation proves that Congress was listening to what the people were asking for. Such a groundswell of public opinion—all speaking with the same voice—will certainly go a long way toward passing similar laws and regulations to initiate real climate change solutions both in the United States and around the world.

In 1976 came the fight with the chemical powerhouse DuPont over the hole in the ozone layer. The final verdict here was that Freon—the product primarily responsible for producing ozone-destroying CFCs—was banned for good. Finally, we had the conflict with power plants and manufacturing facilities over the generation of acid rain, which started in the late 1980s. The US EPA took care of this problem with the Acid Rain Program (ARP) that eventually set caps on emissions of both of the responsible pollutants—NOx and SO2.

So, what is the best answer to our climate crisis conundrum? In addition to pressuring fossil-fuel industries to stop burning fossil fuels, there are many other reasons why a carbon fee is the most important component of any plan for solving climate change. First and foremost: it will generate money —mean lots of money, especially in the short-term. According to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a carbon fee has the potential to raise significant revenues for the government. Depending on the carbon fee imposed, the money raised could be tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The Center for Climate and Energy Solutions states that, for example, “A carbon fee starting at about $16 per ton of CO2 in 2014 and rising four percent over inflation would raise more than $1.1 trillion in the first ten years, and more than $2.7 trillion over a 20-year period.”

So let’s all get started in earnest. Let’s prove that we can successfully once again mobilize to protect the long-term quality of life of our children, grandchildren, and all future generations of humans on Planet Earth!

Our hands are needed to ensure the future of Earth’s inhabitants.

Text excerpted from the book, PROTECTING THE PLANET: Environmental Champions from Conservation to Climate Change, written by Budd Titlow and Mariah Tinger and published by Prometheus Books. Photo caption & credit: Our hands are needed to ensure the future of Earth’s inhabitants. Copyright CHOATphotographer/Shutterstock. 

Author’s bio:For the past 50 years, professional ecologist and conservationist Budd Titlow has used his pen and camera to capture the awe and wonders of our natural world. His goal has always been to inspire others to both appreciate and enjoy what he sees. Now he has one main question: Can we save humankind’s place — within nature’s beauty — before it’s too late? Budd’s two latest books are dedicated to answering this perplexing dilemma. “PROTECTING THE PLANET: Environmental Champions from Conservation to Climate Change”, a non-fiction book, examines whether we still have the environmental heroes among us — harking back to such past heroes as Audubon, Hemenway, Muir, Douglas, Leopold, Brower, Carson, and Meadows — needed to accomplish this goal. Next, using fact-filled and entertaining story-telling, his latest book — “COMING FULL CIRCLE: A Sweeping Saga of Conservation Stewardship Across America”— provides the answers we all seek and need.Having published five books, more than 500 photo-essays, and 5,000 photographs, Budd Titlow lives with his music educator wife, Debby, in San Diego, California.


 

 

Author: Budd Titlow

BS, Biology-Chemistry, Florida State University, 1970 MS, Wildlife Ecology-Fisheries Science, Virginia Tech, 1973 btitlow@aol.com / www.agpix.com/titlow / www.buddtitlow.com For the past 50 years, professional ecologist and conservationist Budd Titlow has used his pen and camera to capture the awe and wonders of our natural world. His goal has always been to inspire others to both appreciate and enjoy what he sees. Now he has one main question: Can we save humankind’s place within nature’s beauty, before it’s too late? Budd’s two latest books are dedicated to answering this perplexing dilemma. Protecting the Planet, a non-fiction book, examines whether we still have the environmental champions among us — harking back to such past heroes as Audubon, Hemenway, Muir, Douglas, Leopold, Brower, Carson, and Meadows — needed to accomplish this goal. Next, using fact-filled and entertaining story-telling, his latest book — Coming Full Circle — provides the answers we all seek and need. Having published five books, more than 500 photo-essays, and 5,000 photographs, Budd Titlow lives with his music educator wife, Debby, in San Diego, California.

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