The Party's Over
In the wake of an unremitting and worsening cascade of killer storms, droughts, floods, heat waves there is a growing and irreversible global understanding of the need for common action for survival and to build a sustainable future. This does not mean the masters of fossil fuel business as usual have seen the light. Their determination to wring the last dollop of fossil fuel and with it the last dollar from an afflicted planet has not flagged. But the sun is inexorably rising.
Global challenges require both global solutions and maximally dispersed action. Each of us must act as trustee of our local ecosystem, our house, our neighborhood and, at the same time, as participant in a global movement for climate justice. While the responsibility of the rich, high energy using, high polluting world is far greater than that of the poor, low energy using, low polluting world, all of us must play a role in the solution to a common human problem.
Need for a Global Declaration
It's long past time to use do nothing global meetings on climate change to postpone action. If we cannot act globally, we must act internationally. If we can't act nationally, we must act locally.
In this time of prolonged crisis that threatens of all the world's people, whether you are sitting at a cafe in Paris, or growing rice in Southern China, we need a common global declaration that separates those committed to solutions from those supporting business and pollution as usual.
The Declaration needs to be broadly applicable to both rich and poor, developed and developing, historic polluters and new emitters, North and South, market and command economies, democracies and non-democracies.
The Declaration needs to focus in a crystal clear and meaningful way on a prompt end to the emission of green house gases and carbon pollution. It must include all aspects to the climate change challenge, not only focus on energy, but also agriculture, forestry, industry.
Such Declarations, are not meant as policy papers, but the expression of fundamental global necessity that over time can have enormous political impact, like the nuclear freeze, as talk of nuclear war became negotiations between Reagan and Gorbachev about nuclear disarmament.
A Global Declaration for Climate Justice
Climate change resulting from industrial business and pollution as usual threatens both the future of humanity and the living world. We reject this path of mutual self-destruction. We pledge to support both personal and political actions that reduce total human related green house gas emissions to completely sustainable levels by 2050. Action must be global and encompass energy, agriculture, forestry, and industry.
A global solution must include transfer of technology and resources from rich to poor to facilitate global sustainability. The continued exploitation of natural capital and of people is the path to ruin. Global sustainability must be built upon a foundation of peace and climate justice where economic growth means ecological improvement and human well being.
Perhaps the Declaration goes viral, sparks discussion, change, and mass nonviolent civil disobedience. In the words of Mario Savio,“There's a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part. And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you're free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”
Roy Morrison's latest book is A Renewable Energy World and Other Adventures in Sustainability.