Hope and change. Yeah, I bought it. I’ll admit it. After 8 years of George Bush, two major new wars, a financial meltdown, I sure was ready for change. I felt this was the going to be “the moment when the rise of our oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” I felt so strongly about our chances to reverse our course that I even traveled to the inauguration, battled weather in the low teens, and walked for 5 hours to get to this spot. This is me and my brother – the duo that eventually started “Sustainable Man” – on that cold January day 4 years ago.
Unfortunately, things didn’t really change the way I had hoped. In those early statements, I never heard the conditions under which we would actually address climate change.
While the “green” sector of the economy can and must grow, it will not lead to new macro-level growth, and thus won’t save the economy. Our monetary system, which must grow or die, is completely decoupled from our planet’s ability to provide the physical resources upon which we all depend. After all, we can’t eat money.
This past year, we received a real taste of climate change: Raging wildfires, droughts, Hurricane Sandy, and the largest recorded yearly arctic ice retreat. In Australia, they actually had to add two colors to the temperature scale. Yes, climate change is real and we must do something about it.
Since the inauguration, I have awoken. I now know that our problems started way before George W. Bush took office. The world is shifting from a centralized, top-down organizational structure to a more distributed, bottom-up society.
However, solving problems such as climate change will take both bottom-up and top-down approaches. That is why I plan to return to Washington D.C., not to cheer hope and change, but to attend 350.org‘s rally in Washington D.C. on February 17th to tell Obama to take his climate pledge seriously by deciding not to build the Keystone XL pipeline, a project that would bring the world’s dirtiest and environmentally-destructive oil from Canada to New Orleans. Will you join me?