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'An Obligation to Make Radical Change': At Youth Climate Summit, Young Leaders Say Merely Listening to Science Is Not Enough

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/09/22/obligation-make-radical-change-youth-climate-summit-young-leaders-say-merely

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She has it exactly right. I can be pretty convincing in a one on one when discussing a topic with a person. When it comes to the need to protect the environment virtually everyone I talk to will eventually come around to my point of view and agree with the points I have made. When trying to convince them to vote green many will say they will do so or strongly consider it.

As soon as they get in that voting booth they seem to forget all that and fall for the “If I do not vote XXXX it will split the vote and YYYY will get in” , just as happens on Commondreams when people counseled to vote Democrat no matter the Policies or no matter the candidate.

This is why nothing ever acted upon when it comes to the environment. Acting on your convictions also means voting on them.

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It is equally pragmatic to vote for the lesser of the evils more so now than ever before. This highlights the fact that people resist change. Especially when it is either very expensive, or very inconvenient.
Example: The basement flooded, the car died, and then you get fired or laid off. A difficult thing to manage mentally. But then your spouse asks for a divorce. That much change and investment all at once can be daunting. We are like hurricane people. Some of us won’t evacuate until it is too late. That would be our present government.

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The whole climate heating scenario is a conundrum. We have wasted so much precious time whereby to implement all the solutions, is possibly a task beyond our capabilities.

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I once loss everything, job, family, home and was homeless. I never have recovered, Just like hurricane people. It is up to us the lend a hand and yet our government stands in the way. What will we do when it’s people from Houston or Miami or NYC? My mind can’t grasp that.

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I love these kids, but man, it’s way too late.
Unless capitalism collapses tomorrow there may likely be no humans left on the planet in a hundred years. Capitalism and it’s machine are well fueled by petroleum. Capitalism will not just quit. It will burn everything down in order to save itself.

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When it’s just a few that respond you are correct. And there is the bigger rub.

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You have been doing that for the past 50 years and all it got you was Trump.

It is not pragmatic. it is the definition of insanity.

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Perhaps it’s nuts to hope for better, but this is what we are given for choices. And there are more than one bad way to vote.

Author sez:
“Oil and gas executives will be holding a forum at the (U.N. Climate) summit, inviting ‘stakeholders from across industry, academia, government, and non-profits,’ …”

… to bid on shares of the action.

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Even as Barack Obama acknowledged Global warming he was presiding over the largest expansion of the Oil and Gas Industry in the USA in recent memory. On his watch the USA became the largest producer of gas and Oil in the world as the shale industry and fracking boomed.

How is that a lessor evil?

You are given other choices. Use them.

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“How is that a lesser evil?” Have you noticed what we have now?
Everyone votes their choice. Everyone is right and everyone is wrong according to someone else. We know where this conversation goes. Nowhere.

THAT, is the bottom line. We (most of us probably) have been voting for the lesser of two evils all of our lives. With the exception of Carter and Obamas first term (yes, I had hope), for me that’s been 51 years. And All I got was this damned Trump and a continual slide to the Reich in the “Democrat” Party
I had to hold my nose to vote for Obama the second time which is why I will never Blue no matter who again. The Cycle of insanity has to be broken. Continually voting for the Wall Street approved candidate changes nothing - ever!

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These are the young people who will spit on our graves.

“Under the prodding of Mike Pompeo, the White House increasingly views the Arctic as a key arena for future great-power competition, with the ultimate prize being an extraordinary trove of valuable resources, including oil, natural gas, uranium, zinc, iron ore, gold, diamonds, and rare-earth minerals. Add in one more factor: Though no one in the Trump administration is likely to mention the forbidden terms “climate change” or “climate crisis,” they all understand perfectly well that global warming is what’s making such a resource scramble possible.”

— 2019-09-15 MICHAELKLARE-ASIATIMES Greenland and the Pompeo doctrine

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I don’t see any positive role for the fossil fuel corporations except to STOP EXTRACTING AND PRODUCING fossil fuels now. Leave them in the ground. Stop wasting time exploring for more.

I’ve never understood why they have been so obstinate and have never embraced changing their business model to transition to alternative, renewable energy sources. At this point the best thing to happen is that they cease to exist.

And a just transition means that there is a place to go for the people who work for the FF corporations.

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Since ‘Kyoto’, we have squandered the majority of the time we had to address the climate crisis doing nothing. In fact, the amount of fossil fuel extracted and burned and the amount of CO2 generated has significantly increased. Now we have a fraction of the time to do an even larger task.

Waiting to figure out how we can do the impossible (continue to escalate our power consumption at the same time as addressing climate change) is both idiotic and ass-backward. Just reduce the extraction and combustion of fossil fuels by 5 - 10% per year - IMMEDIATELY. The resulting shortages will dictate the necessary responses. This can be done through orderly and cooperative international agreements, or the masses of people facing extinction can take matters into their own hands and simply eliminate industry’s capacity to extract and burn via the destruction of the required infrastructure.

At this point it really is one or the other.

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What we must do to save the planet .

The fossil fuel industry receives a lot of criticism these days, and rightfully so. But in the final analysis, we are the ones who support the energy industry and it is our standard of living that will need to change. So contemplate what you can do for the cause

Personal Actions

End our love affair with the automobile

Ride more trains and buses

Car pool

Walk and bike more

Change from air conditioners to electric and hand fans in the summer and dial the thermostat down in winter

Become vegetarians or vegans

Refill plastic water bottles with tap water

Discontinue using aluminum cans with and without carbonation

Maximize use of reusable bags and products

Recycle junk mail

Recycle maximally, especially aluminum cans

Drive and accelerate more slowly

Climb more stairs

Plant more trees

Forego use of spray cans

Ride more trains and buses

Repair, mend and alter as much as possible

Buy solar panels

Compost as much as possible

Last person out of the room turn off the lights

Eat and farm organic

Ride more trains and buses

Fly fewer planes

Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings

Use manual tools instead of power tools

Share more

Use rakes rather than leaf blowers

Decrease use of bottled water and refill plastic bottles with tap water

Maximize reusable bags and products

Replace lawns with vegetable gardens

Stop fertilizing and mowing lawns

Compost as much as possible

Minimize use of disposables (Pampers);

Maximize high efficiency LED and solar powered lighting;

Limit endless gadgets

Use motion lighting, where appropriate

Decrease consumption

Limit family size

Buy smaller cars

Local Government Actions

Reorganize cities, building taller residences with a smaller footprint (the end of suburbia)

Institute a carbon tax

Promote car pooling subsidize and expand mass transit

Expand bike paths

Have shareable (zip) cars

Ban electric outdoor signs;

Eat and farm organic

Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings

Eliminate approximately 50% of all street lighting and office lighting in unoccupied buildings

Federal Government Actions

Eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel corporations

Ban gasohol

Rein in the militaries for defense only and outlaw war

Shrink, do not upgrade nuclear arsenals and increase treaties

Discontinue night baseball

Promote making electronics, house wares, furniture, etc to be as durable and long-lived as possible

Promote recycling

Set standards for making appliances to be as energy efficient as possible

Discontinue single use aluminum cans

Ban electric outdoor signs

Subsidize solar and wind power;

Change from petroleum based fertilizers to regenerative agriculture

Reverse deforestation, plant more trees

Restrict spray cans

Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings

Promote zero population growth with free condoms and educate girls world-wide

Mandate making smaller cars

Proscribe junk mail

Scrap the mission to Mars

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What are these youth solutions that agree with science?

The bloated corporate powers, which effectively own much of the US Congress,
might just be responsive to the growing climate protest movement if a concerted
and savvy worldwide boycott action were organized. They are the shot callers
and continue to deny world climate change. Yes, it would be hard to boycott
fossil fuels directly since most of us use them, but these titanic companies
are also invested in vast areas having nothing to do with fossil fuel. Boycotts
have worked in the past nationally and internationally. Just as they get Congress’s
attention with money, we can get their attention by targeting their profits.

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So first of all a lot of oil and gas companies actually used to own a fair amount of solar, wind, nuclear and biofuel divisions in the 1970s, but nearly all of these either went bankrupt or were sold off by the 1980s due to cost.

Furthermore the idea that you don’t need fossil fuels is incredibly ignorant of what we use fossil fuels for. Petroleum products are literally used in the manufacturing of wind and solar. Now there are some alternatives in solar and there are biofuels that can replace petrochemicals, but the scale of production for these materials is astronomically different.

There is no scenario where we are completely getting rid of fossil fuels in the near future. The amount of materials you would have to replace is in the millions, so the real objective is to target areas of the highest concentration of pollution specifically for GHG pollution.

On top of that there are entire industries where substitutes not only don’t exist, but there are scientific technical challenges even from a theoretical perspective of attempting to replace petroleum based models.