A local Retro-Modern bike shop in West Seattle.    RideYourBike.com    

“I pledge to begin taking as many of the following steps as I can to stave off the worst effects of global warming, and spread the word. In so doing I will cut fossil fuel use. I will do some or all of the following:

1.   Cut down on driving my vehicle, or carpool. I will walk or bike, and not buy a car if I do not have one (best of all). I will support and use mass transit. I may work closer to my home.

2.   Cut down on working just for money: I can thereby barter more, and cut down on commuting.

3.   Depave my driveway, or help others’ depave their driveways, or depave parking lots, and grow food in depaved land.

4.   Unplug or retire my television, and perhaps go off the electricity grid. I will reduce energy for heating, and share appliances such as my oven with neighbors, and not buy or use power tools or jet skis, etc.

5.   Publicly oppose new road construction and road widening in my community, to start undoing sprawl, prevent growth in traffic, and halt the spread of forest roads allowing clearcuts.

6.   Take vacations without jet air travel, and avoid career activity dependent on jet travel.

7.   Plant trees, collect rainwater, and avoid overusing municipal water as it is energy-consumptive (and thus may emit CO2, the main heat-trapping gas that fossil fuels release).

8.   Buy local products, buy as little plastic as possible, carry a travel mug. Minimize consumption. Support alternative plant materials to cut down on petrochemicals and trees for paper. Avoid eating animal products especially shipped-in beef.

9.   Not bring more children into the world, or limit my offspring to one, and possibly adopt. I recognize the threat of overpopulation.

10.   Inform my community and the greater national and global community on the need to take action such as the above for climate stability.”

 

Ten detailed steps for greenhouse relief and benefits

1. Drive your car less, or give it up. Perhaps you can try carpooling or renting a car. Eventually you could move your residence closer to work, or find a job closer to home. Ride a bike, walk, take the bus or the train. Use bike-carts for hauling. Each gallon of gasoline burned means five pounds of carbon into the atmosphere. The U.S. burns over 115 billion gallons a year.

2. Cut down on working just for cash. Personal arrangements reduce commuting and boost community. Garden or farm locally so you can share in the food. Help clean or repair someone’s home, and in return perhaps get your hair styled or get a massage! Do some child care or teaching in your immediate neighborhood so others don’t have to drive their kids, and you may be compensated in the form of getting some clothing, firewood or music lessons. Establish local currency.

3. Depave your driveway or someone else’s. Grow food. Tear up a parking lot. Good soil for growing food is often under asphalt and concrete, except when a bed of rocks was put in and soil scraped away. Narrowing a road (which calms traffic and lowers the “urban heat island effect” of pavement) can allow for all-important tree planting. Create compost with kitchen scraps and garden clippings, for growing depaved veggies. Save urine for fertilizing trees; dilute it for garden plants.

4. Unplug the television and other electric or motorized appliances or toys. Read books, play non-electric musical instruments, and talk with your family. Get news and entertainment from a solar or handcrank radio. Get off the grid: use no electricity in first one room, then others. Reduce heating. Share ovens: Six loaves of bread can bake at once instead of one-this means getting together with neighbors! Go to bed early so as to not turn night into day. Use non-petroleum oil lamps. Minimize outdoor lighting. No motorized recreational toys or two-stroke engines. Push-mow lawns; bring back the scythe to clear fields.

5. Halt road construction at local, state and national levels. More roads and wider roads bring about more car and truck traffic and CO2 emissions, and allow sprawl development which means more electricity-demand and less green space. Roads are the way forests have been clearcut. There should be no compromise: our biosphere is running out of time. Cheap oil is running out too fast for myriad roads to be useful.

6. Reject the jet: Take vacations without air travel. Sail. Go into a line of work not requiring jet travel. Jets are less energy efficient than cars, per capita, comparing a jet full of passengers to one person driving. Forget jet skis too!

7. Plant trees on lawns (including golf courses), and everywhere: they suck up CO2. Vital places for restoration include stream and river banks, and dirt roads that have been closed. (Do close roads; the Earth would approve.) Hope that increasingly violent storms due to global warming will not destroy forests and plants too badly. Collect rain water and use water sparingly for washing, especially cars, as pumping municipal water can use much fossil-fuel energy that adds to global warming.

8. Buy and consume locally: This cuts down on petroleum-based transport. Also, buy smart: little or no petroleum plastic. Reuse paper bags and glass containers. Support sustainable, nontoxic materials-industries such as hemp: it replaces pulping of trees. Buy in bulk. Reuse and recycle everything including kitchen scraps for compost.  Avoid eating animal products especially shipped-in beef.  Consume no factory-farm animal products; the herds create methane and demand great quantities of electricity and petroleum. Earth’s petroleum—oil and natural gas—will be virtually gone before 2050. Growing food organically does not use fertilizers made from natural gas or pesticides from oil.  To improve diet for health and localization, look into www.living-foods.com.

9. Reduce population growth: Adopt a child instead of reproducing, but bearing one child is better than adding two to the population. Fewer consumers especially in the highest per capita energy-using nation (the U.S.) means lower global-warming emissions. Why bring another life into an overpopulated, greenhouse world? Instead of “More Jobs” for more people, what about less people? More “jobs”=more CO2 emissions.

10. Community action: Aim it toward governments and big corporations. If today’s level of outcry against genetically engineered food and the excesses of world corporate trade were combined, that might be enough to get the ball rolling. So, write letters, demonstrate in the streets, form boycotts, and attend city-council and county-supervisor hearings. Use the Internet to email this, and link websites to www.culturechange.org. Take loving action to discourage fellow citizens’ climate-changing habits. Good luck to us all; we are all one.

***

The Beautiful Earth Provides

by Jan Lundberg

Our world is wondrous and still is mysterious. May it always contain and nurture development of species, and rocks too, in all their amazing variety and function, as vital to the whole. Simply because civilization recently came along and allowed overpopulation of one confused species (most of us by now), does not mean we should give up hope for resuming our evolution in an accepting, joyful fashion.

As daunting as today’s problems are—that we have foisted on the future as well—we are fortunate to be here and alive. In our time on the Earth we need to love one another and our common home, for our own happiness and peace of mind, as well as for securing for the future the beauty of this little third stone from the Sun. Our achievements can be said to be awesome, but perhaps the best of them return our attention to the original state of abundance shared by all: “Please don’t destroy these lands/Don’t make them desert sands.” (the Yardbirds, mid 1960s)

What you may have already known:
Greenhouse gases are building up due to human activity. The result is a measurable rise in average global temperature of one degree Fahrenheit from one hundred years ago. That is amazing in geohistory, and the trend is accelerating. The hottest seven years since record keeping began have been in the 1990s. The resultant distortion of the planet’s sensitive climate system is now bringing on sea-level rise and new patterns of drought, affecting crops and fisheries. More intense storms are part of rapid global warming; this phase has begun. Four-fifths of the main greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, is from fossil fuels combustion. Meanwhile, industry propagandists (fossil-fuel lobbyists and corporate news-media commentators) spin myths that more carbon is good for plant growth, and that there is scientific debate on global warming. The grains of truth in those concepts are more than offset by the reality of deforestation and loss of fertile soils that are drying and eroding as never before. Desertification has accelerated, but is nothing new as a by-product of civilization.

What you may NOT have known:
Current climate change from global warming is happening more rapidly than expected by scientists and their computer climate-change models, because the models do not incorporate the effects of humans’ actions such as deforesting the Amazon rainforest. Climatologists warn that if the Earth loses much more precipitation-regulating forests, then warming and droughts could rapidly intensify. Ice caps are melting, most glaciers are in retreat, and huge chunks of Antarctic ice shelves are breaking off, promising to boost ocean temperature and sea-level rise several times more than the models forecast. The U.S. had its warmest spring on record this year, which followed the warmest winter on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said this year the climate is warming at “an unprecedented rate.” If cooling sulphur emissions and aerosols—which may cease in production, and do not linger long in the atmosphere—are taken into account, global warming is significantly greater than calculated.

What we are putting into the atmosphere today will not be felt or detected in terms of global warming for another 50 years or more. The discernible warming today due to fossil fuel burning comes from prior to 1950. Not to slow global warming now is madness.

Positive feedback loops mean that carbon or methane “sinks” become greenhouse gas sources (emitters), and rising temperatures cause more release of the gases, causing quicker global warming which releases more gases more quickly, and so on—the runaway greenhouse effect. The Arctic’s permafrost is melting, releasing CO2 and methane contained there; ocean temperatures are rising which kills phytoplankton that soak up carbon; ocean water expands when heated and would engulf more land, killing vegetation that releases CO2. Meanwhile, bodies of water hold heat while ice reflects it away. Vast amounts of frozen methane on sea bottoms can be released, contributing to oceanic and atmospheric warming. Species are being driven extinct at a rate of perhaps over one hundred a day, before much global warming has even hit.

Individual and mass action is clearly required now; we must not wait to see what Al Gore would do. He supports more highway building, which increases motor vehicle use. U.S. automobiles are the single biggest contributor to greenhouse-gas emissions. If non-petroleum fuels were the new propulsion for vehicles, the amount of CO2 emissions would increase with electric vehicles charged up on a fossil-fuel electric utility grid. But most emissions from cars are from the mining and manufacturing of the cars and components.

The Kyoto Protocol, a United Nations-spawned proposed treaty adopted in 1997, calls for the U.S. to cut greenhouse gases by 7% of 1990 levels. The Senate has not yet ratified it. Meanwhile, emissions have risen, to over 11% beyond 1990 levels. So, emissions are supposed to go down by 18% between 2008-2012, assuming they stopped going up now. The revised goal for arithmetic accuracy by then may have to be 25%, although that is less than half of what the climate needs—assuming other nations came through too. Unless this happens, the result may be the runaway greenhouse effect. Scientists with the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated in 1995 that the world’s fossil-fuels emissions reduction must be 60-80%. In Kyoto, Fossil Fuels Policy Action was advised that transport is the sector accounting for the rise in greenhouse gas emissions in the 1990s. To offset this means no new roads globally. It means retiring cars as Cuba did upon losing its Soviet oil. It means massive birth control. It means neighbors sharing the use of ovens to cook meals, and more.

In June 2000 the San Francisco Chronicle referred to the “Global Warming Debate” in a headline. This adds to confusion and prevents needed action. The reality of climate-change is not getting through, despite the alternative media. The U.S. government demands cheaper gasoline from the oil companies and more oil from OPEC. With that kind of leadership, when it knows full well what global warming is doing, our choosing lifestyle change on the individual level is what the Earth demands. In the process of a mass movement we will save money and improve health and sociability.

Due to heatwaves at present, perhaps due to global warming, energy shortages exist for electric power. This seems like the best reason and time to implement Kyoto-type cuts in consumption to cut emissions.

The “technofix” hope, pinned on renewable energy, can be a misleading dead-end when we consider dwindling oil’s unique applications, and we face existing overpopulation propped up by cheap petroleum. The technofix is well supported in the environmental movement’s literature because the industrial approach gets well funded. The inefficient, overbuilt infrastructure that the technofix would attempt to preserve relies on oil’s non-energy uses: e.g., asphalt, tires and plastic.

This document’s list of steps to take is limited. Be creative! Eventually, a natural balance can be restored, and we will along the way achieve local food-supply security through non-petroleum farming and non-oil transport and trade. The steps in the Pledge for Climate Stabilization would aid the grassroots movement to fight climate destabilization.

Legislation and court decisions limiting secondhand smoke was possible through active respect for individual and public health. To pass and enforce laws against motor-vehicle exhaust is harder than fighting tobacco companies, because the national and global economy would collapse without ongoing sales of new motor vehicles. Some would welcome collapse, but society is already challenged to adequately care for stockpiles of nuclear weapons and radioactive waste.

There is hope in grassroots, nonviolent direct action. It is peaceful when people in the opposition—those in denial—are thought of as lacking information or in experience in using courage. Shutting down the WTO meeting peacefully in Seattle last fall proves people can be motivated to turn off the televisions and computers, get out of their cars, and make a long-term difference.