Climate Change Conference Insights
Naomi Klein’s Keynote Address
Naomi Klein is the author of, among other things, This Changes Everything, a powerful documentary about climate change, its causes and the struggles of people faced with its challenges. I had the opportunity to attend her talk last week at Loyola’s Climate Change Conference. Her articulation of the crisis we’re in was fantastic and inspiring. In particular: she acknowledged that the Paris Climate Accord was the most significant global political accomplishment around climate change yet, and despite this achievement, it also resulted in zero legally binding commitments by any country to adhere to emission limits, effectively rendering the accord useless in terms of enforceable regulation.
She also spelled out in plain numbers that the rates of carbon emissions and temperatures rising both far outpace the Accord’s limits and the limits that scientists advise, and bottom-lined it:
WE ARE IN A CRISIS!!!!
Some of the most compelling facts I learned from her talk:
- Consumerism is directly tied to emissions. This is simple logic, but supported by data, it shows that when you shop for new things you don’t need, you are directly contributing to climate change. This is critical for conveying to all of us that we CAN make a difference and we DO have an impact. Your choices matter. Less IS more.
- Interesting fact: 10% of consumers produce 50% of emissions.
- The reversal of privatization of energy in Germany allowed for the removal of obstacles to transforming their energy sources from fossil fuels to renewable. This was very interesting to me because I believe ComEd is a huge obstruction to greening our energy sources; I tried to get solar panels on my multi-unit residence and ComEd’s restrictions made it financially impossible. Germans experienced the same frustrations… so they removed those blockades by reversing the privatization of energy and making it a government controlled resource again. This allowed for a quicker transition to renewables. I think it’s time to consider such ideas.
- Money in American politics is ruining our country’s ability to adapt & evolve. This isn’t news, but it’s a huge reason the US is unable to make positive changes at adequate rates.
- She directs people to The Leap Manifesto for what to do next. It’s an excellent resource to help activate & organize locally.
Climate Change Conference
The single most important thing I learned at the conference is the most basic fundamental fact about what motivates people to care about the earth: time in nature gets people to value the Earth more. The Minister of the Environment of Sweden drove this point home when asked: “what activity would help Americans value the environment more?” – he said “create programs to get them into nature.”
I fully agree with this and am excited to be going home to Iowa tomorrow to do just that: spend time in nature – and discuss ways to get people to spend more time in nature.
The feeling I got from the conference emboldened my resolve: we need to activate!
Feb 3, 2016:
Humans, we need to activate! Some facts to explain why:
- 30,000 children die every day due to starvation.
- 1 Million pounds of food are thrown away every day.
- 50% of US taxes are spent on the military.
This is not ok. This video conveys some of these issues.
It’s time to do something about it. This site is intended to give you ideas on what you can do.
The first thing you can do is attend the upcoming Community Hub Garden Workshop Day.
Saturday February 27th
11am – 2pm
ICA GreenRise – 4750 N. Sheridan Rd
It’s intended to build community by cultivating spaces locally for residents to learn and share skills that promote sustainable behaviors. This hub day is gardening focused. You are not required to bring seed.
Additional activities will include:
- Gardening in Uptown
- Creating a Local Garden Walk
- Potluck Lunch
- Accessing Citywide Resources
- Hands-On Workshops to Share Gardening Skills!
Everyone is invited!
We will have experts sharing information about the excellent opportunities in the community to get involved related to sustainability. I hope you’ll consider joining.