As H. Jackson Brown wrote in Life’s Little Instruction Book, “Nothing is more expensive than a missed opportunity.” We have been given the eco opportunity of all time—the opportunity to save our planet. So … what are we doing about it?
Here’s a “What-If” for you: Imagine you’ve just turned the corner on your way home from work, only to meet the horrifying scene of flames shooting out the front windows of your house. You screech to a stop. The back door appears to be free of flames and smoke, and quick thinking tells you there’s a chance you can still rescue your spouse, your kids and the family dog.
What do you do? Sit dazed by the flames, munching the chips you just bought? Go chat with a neighbor? Call and invite a friend for a walk?
No! You take action. Call the fire department? No, forget that—you brave the flames, dash in the back door and drag them all out by their hair, if need be.
If this seems like a theoretical question, it is not. Your house—your planet—is on fire. And everyone you hold dear is in jeopardy.
But is that where your attention is focused? Not mine, I confess. Probably not yours, either, thanks to the huge cloud of disinformation obscuring the flames. And now, the coronavirus pandemic has taken over our normally calm brains. WTF? How to protect ourselves from the virus (or big brother, if you hang with the conspiracy crowd), not to mention financial meltdown?
Vital questions, to be sure. NOW questions. But the virus will eventually burn itself out, be a thing of the past.
The climate crisis, however, is not going to burn itself out. Unless we broaden our focus to include it, NOW, it threatens to burn our house down. This is the eco opportunity of a lifetime.
Even back when climate change news was top of mind, most of us just didn’t “get it.” Sure, we applauded Greta Thunberg for her tremendous courage, but next morning our lives returned to business as usual.
Why? What is it that keeps us from picking up the fire hose? Is it because we’re not trained firemen, and the extinction fire is just too freakin’ scary to face?
Each of us is only one person, after all. What the *#@!# can we do about it?
So we go into denial.
You and I are not climate deniers. We’re alert to the flames.
We’re aware of the huge spike in greenhouse gas buildup since the industrial revolution, and particulary over the last twenty years. And given that the industrial revolution was created by humans, the logical assumption is that the buildup in greenhouse gases is due in large measure to human activity.
We’ve been told that our eco opportunity is limited, that we have a short window of time to get more eco-friendly and turn that around. And we know we’re not doing what it’s going to take to accomplish that.
We suspect we could still save the earth, but we’re not sure. That’s where our denial lies.
So … we’re not shouting from the rooftops, or stepping out of our comfort zone to put out the fire.
How Bad Is It, Really?
FACT: The Chinese first told the world about the virus on December 31st, 2020. Take a look at climate change 2020: For starters, in January and February, intentionally set fires burned 15,127 acres of rainforest—about 252 acres per day.
Agribusiness was setting most of these rainforest fires, not random arsonists.
Yikes! And the burning went on, day after day, as we worried about masks and gloves and toilet paper.
FACT: “In 2017, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from burning fossil fuels for energy were equal to about 76% of total U.S. anthropogenic GHG emissions (based on global warming potential) and about 93% of total U.S. anthropogenic CO2 emissions.”
Yikes squared! And though we’ve scaled down on coal use, we’re still heavily reliant on oil and natural gas, two major causes of greenhouse gases. We are not moving to take advantage of this eco opportunity.
How Do We Know CO2 Is To Blame?
Scientists from the Woods Hole Research Center and IPAM-Amazonia WHRC and IPAM-Amazônia told us that the first eight months of 2019 “produced between 104 and 141 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2). That is equivalent to annual tailpipe carbon pollution from 22.6 to 30.6 million cars, or the annual CO2 emissions from the entire state of North Carolina.”
Ongoing NASA temperature analysis by scientists at Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) show “the approximate magnitude of global warming, which reached about 0.8°C (1.44ºF) in 2010, twice the magnitude reported in 1981.” Two-thirds of the warming since 1880 has occurred since 1975.”
Measurements of the influence of CO2 on both incoming solar energy and outgoing long-wave radiation provides strong evidence that CO2, methane, ozone and nitrous oxide trap heat inside our atmosphere, leading to increased global warming.
Trump’s Contribution to the Cause
The Trump administration threw gas on the fire at every turn—just as with coronavirus, telling us it was under control and we could get back to our lives by Easter. Hah!
Thank heaven he wasn’t reelected! President Biden will keep us in the Paris Accord.
It’s Up To Us!
But even with Trump defeated and the Democrats returning once again in Washington, the task of saving our earth home for ourselves, our children and future generations is up to US. All of us. Given that we and our loved ones are the ones who will—or won’t—survive, we can’t afford to sit idly by and hope the new Administration does everything that’s needed.
That means YOU. And ME. It’s why I wrote this article.
Because we still have a chance to succeed—if we wake up and take bold action. Not next year, but NOW. Find out about all the many things you can do NOW to be part of the solution.
Want to make a bigger difference than you’re making now? It might just be worth the effort. It can even be fun, especially if you get your friends together in a friendly competition. Here’s a list of 38 things you can do immediately to help save our earth home.
This is truly the eco opportunity of a lifetime. For that matter, it’s the eco opportunity of ALL time! And if you still find yourself in that unconscious state of denial that keeps you from taking action, it’s likely you need a team to get you going. Check out Team GreenSaver.