Creating social change, Divestment from fossil fuels, Economic Resilience, Teaching powerdown

Divestment is the opposite of investment: you can think of it like “uninvesting.”

To divest from fossil fuels means to sell all the oil and gas company stocks in your investment portfolio (or your university’s portfolio, or your faith community’s portfolio, or your city’s portfolio…).

Every day, the fossil fuel industry moves steadily closer to killing the planet and rendering humanity extinct. It has already begun: People are dying from climate-change-driven storms and diseases. From farmland to fisheries, people’s livelihoods are being wiped out, especially in disadvantaged nations. Glaciers are melting, faster than even the scientists had feared, and weather weirdness is being felt everywhere. A warming planet is disrupting ecosystems and wreaking havoc on wildlife. Scientists state quite clearly that unchecked global warming will mean the end of life as we know it. Yet the fossil fuel industry forges forward on its plans to drill and sell every bit of their reserves, to generate carbon emissions which will extinct us all. When you invest in fossil fuels, you are giving your support, your encouragement, and your endorsement to all of this. Continue Reading

Teaching powerdown, water wisdom

If you’re reading this and you live in L.A., California, or the U.S. Southwest, here are some simple things you can do now — as an individual or as a community group — to prepare for summer heat before the inevitable onslaught begins.

1. Install blinds and sun barriers. Look for thermal drapery lining fabric (available by the yard at many chain fabric stores) which will reduce the amount of heat that comes into your room. If you are a renter, get spring-tension-style curtain rods and there will be no holes for your landlord to complain about. If you own your own property, extend the overhang of your eaves with lattice or similar material so that it casts more shade. Or consider flying some of those triangle-shaped shade sails over patios and driveways that radiate heat.  (If you are able to take on a much bigger project, boost the insulation in your exterior walls and consider double-paned windows.) Continue Reading

Creating social change, Teaching powerdown, Transition movement

We’re caught in the squeeze right now.

Climate change is advancing at an incredible speed. We know we should do something, but we lack the political will to do what it takes to hold it to 2°C. UN committees are now being counseled to prepare for 4°C of warming. To keep it survivable, there’s got to be a powerdown — starting today.

Meanwhile green-tech enthusiasts cheer the rapid rate at which certain countries are installing renewable energy infrastructure. But reports are now surfacing of shortages in the rare earth ingredients needed to make that renewable infrastructure. We don’t have enough rare earth materials to replace the whole fossil infrastructure and continue on our current level of consumption. No one dares speak the little secret: Even with renewables, there’s got be a powerdown. Continue Reading

Creating social change, Economic Resilience, Transition movement

Sunflower at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity
Sunflower at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity

It’s a sign of a really good essay when bits of it linger with you for days after you’ve read it and it keeps popping up in your mind. Naomi Klein’s “Why Science is Telling All of Us to Revolt and Change Our Lives Before We Destroy the Planet” is one of those. Her theme? “Global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that ‘earth-human systems’ are becoming dangerously unstable in response.”

“Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage,” Klein writes. She describes UC San Diego geophysicist Brad Werner at a major scientific conference as “observing that mass uprisings of people — along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street — represent the likeliest source of ‘friction’ to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control.”

The part that keeps itching at me, days after I read Klein’s article, is the presumption that “mass uprisings” are the only way out of this mess.  Continue Reading

Teaching powerdown

If you’ve ever looked for an iron-clad case that the fossil energy supply is out-of-control, over-the-top destructive –of planet, wildlife, people’s health and culture– then check out Energy, the latest publication of the Post Carbon Institute.

The word “breathtaking” has become cliche when put with “photographs” but here it really applies. You will gasp aloud as you turn each page. (even my teens did) And then you’ll want to show the pictures to more people, because you can’t keep this kind of stuff to yourself. Coal strip mines. Spawling oil fields. Landscape wracked by palm oil plantations. The debris of Fukushima. And of course the BP oil platform going down in flames. Continue Reading