Tuesday, May 3, 2022

#123 / I Got Nothin


The "I got nothin" sentiment is not my own. I am referring to Ross Clark's "goodbye column," which ran in my hometown newspaper, the Santa Cruz Sentinel, on Sunday, April 3, 2022. 
For over ten years, Clark has been writing a column called, "Earth Matters," and here's my thought. He's right! Earth definitely "matters," and I was sorry to learn that Clark has decided to terminate his efforts to educate and inform readers about the ways that they can "protect and improve the Monterey Bay and our global climate." That is how Clark defined his objectives in that last column, and that's a task that still needs doing.
In reporting that he was ending his column, Clark indicated that he was discouraged by the fact that "civil discourse locally and throughout our nation is at a low ebb," with policy disagreements sliding towards "hostility and disrespect." 
Of course, Clark is completely right about the state of our public conversations, and we all need to start paying attention to the "I never thought of it that way" approach to our disagreements. Still, I am distressed if Clark is saying that his own efforts have been given a hostile reception. We definitely need voices pointing out that the image at the top is now, and always will be, what "we've got." 
What we've got is far from "nothin," and reminders of what an amazing and blessed thing it is to be alive, on Earth, are not only welcome, but essential. 
Luckily, even as Clark terminated further efforts to educate the public, and to stimulate action, he left  his readers with a list to think about, proving that his, "I got nothin" statement wasn't quite accurate. Here are Clark's final thoughts! It's a very good list:

• Decide what you want and push for action. Decarbonize the electric grid, electrify transportation infrastructure, institute a carbon tax, press for global action and charge for non-compliance. You need to do the math, figure out how much we need to do to save the planet and demand that we stay on schedule.

• Don’t tell people how to live. They don’t like it. Rather, change the playing field; price carbon as it should, eliminate carbon subsidize and incentivize carbon free alternative. People will usually choose what benefits their bottom line.

• Encourage wealth. Let the people and businesses who are willing and able to decarbonize the world make money. Combat waste, greed and corruption but embrace market forces that will drive the change we need.

• Don’t get distracted. Other environmental issues are worth our attention as well, but don’t rationalize climate inaction by getting lost in environmental causes that will, if we fail the climate, be only folly.

• Care for one another. There are already climate losers. Help those affected by climate impacts and by doing so, empower them to be part of the solution.

• Plan for the future. The climate predictions have been (unfortunately) fairly accurate, although likely underestimating the rate of climate change. Let’s look at what is predicted and make good decisions using available information.

• Accept that some things are lost. Don’t delay actions needed because we cannot accept the secondary implications of our solutions. We need to decarbonize significant portions of our infrastructure. We can try to protect things as they are (in futility) or figure out how to retain the worlds species and aid habitat resiliency while we also act to minimize the carbon emissions that are responsible for this mess.

• Encourage action. Voice your support for those who take action, select the services and businesses which are doing their part and encourage our elected officials to make the changes needed.

• Don’t despair. This one will be (and has been) hard. Focus on the challenge ahead and your resolve to save our planet. Celebrate success, as anything less is not acceptable.

• Be part of the solution. If you are not vested in minimizing climate change, fine. Let those that are willing to take action move forward.

• Don’t be pragmatic. Pragmatic people got us here. Set outlandish (and necessary) goals and do what no one thinks you can. It is the only way.
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