climate treaty now

People of the World, Unite: Climate Treaty Now.

Writing the Letter- Feedback from James Hansen

Back a few weeks ago when we were writing the draft petition, we sent it to James Hansen, NASA scientist who has emerged as the possibly most vocal scientist in the world working to address the climate change situation.

We ended up using the final draft of the petition that he sent back, but leaving out one crucial paragraph, below:

“We urge you to consider the carbon tax proposal put forth by Dr. James Hansen, a reasonable and effective strategy for limiting climate change gases and providing funds for stimulating the development of green energy.”

While we think this is an idea worth considering, we thought it would be best and most inclusive of the message to leave the door open to all options rather than recommending specific political and economic actions.

We are very interested in YOUR thoughts on how to get from here to 350.

Let us know!

Advertisements Petition is Now Live! Please sign!

Please  sign the petition at . There is no single more important work we can do in this lifetime. The future of the Earth itself is at stake!

Climate Change due to human causes is having a major effect on our ability to grow food, creating droughts and desertification, and making life more and more difficult for humans and other living beings on the planet. Join people around the world in letting world leaders know that we are worried about climate change and that we want our governments to work together to slow it down and reverse it.

Also, check out our Charter Signatories, individuals and organizations who have come together to help kick off this crucial grassroots effort:

What Causes Climate Change?

This summary of the issues by Brennan Jorgensen explains why we need to do something, NOW:

Since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, the level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the
atmosphere has increased 40% after remaining relatively static for hundreds of thousands of years. In fact right now, carbon dioxide levels at 390 ppm are at the highest ever recorded in at least 800,000 years according to air samples retrieved from polar ice cores.

Currently, human activities largely revolving around the combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation, and other activities are emitting CO2 at over 135-times the natural volcanic background rate, according to the U.S. Geological Survey:

Why are carbon emissions such a concern?

Like other greenhouse gases such as water vapor and methane, these molecules have the property of absorbing long wave (heat) radiation that primarily comes from the sun.

When infrared radiation strikes molecules such as carbon dioxide and methane it causes the bonds to bend and vibrate. This is called the absorption of IR energy and the molecule gains kinetic energy.

This extra kinetic energy is then transmitted to other molecules such as oxygen and nitrogen that make up the bulk of the atmosphere and it causes a “greenhouse effect” or warming of the atmosphere. While the largest greenhouse gas, water vapor, has remained relatively constant over the last century both carbon dioxide and methane continue to rise at a rapid pace due to human activities.

What evidence is there that carbon emissions are causing the atmosphere to warm? Direct weather observation has been the most revealing. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that all 11 years of the 21st century so far (2001–2011) rank among the 13 warmest in the 132-year period of weather records even though the single largest source of radiative forcing, incoming solar radiation, has been declining from the sun over the last several decades;

“NASA researchers updated calculations of the Earth’s energy imbalance, which is the
difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by the Earth’s surface and the amount returned to space as heat. They found that despite unusually low solar activity from 2005 to 2010, the planet continued to absorb more energy (half a watt more per square meter) than it returned to space during that time period.”

That the atmosphere traps half a watt (6/10th to be exact) more energy per square metermay not seem like much to worry about but really is a tremendous amount of heat. According to NASA researchers, it is the equivalent of releasing the energy of some 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs every day 365 days a year.

Imagine if a terrorist were found to be releasing the energy equivalent of 400,000 atomic bombs a day into the atmosphere? We would have global national security crises on a magnitude not seen since World War II.

To put this in another perspective, the last greatest episode of geological global warming called the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) lasted 20,000 years and witnessed an estimated global temperature rise upwards of some 6 degrees Celsius during that time interval about 55 million years ago:

We are now emitting carbon emissions at 10 times the rate of the PETM episode, we are projected to ascend the temperature equivalent of a PETM in just one century which would be catastrophic for civilization in terms unacceptably extreme weather disasters.

Scientists and policy makers have already estimated that any global temperature increase approaching 2 degrees Celsius would be pushing civilization to the brink. This is why it is so important to reduce are carbon emissions now us and the safeguarding of future generations.

An Interesting View of the Future & Art’s Place In It

Who knows how many thousands of hours I’ve spent pursuing ideas of what the future will be. Bruce creates an astonishing 3-D, moving imaginarium of what’s next:

Improving a Great Idea

Two years ago, protesters in Australia unfurled a banner on the Sydney opera house:

The right message, if a bit prosaic in presentation. Now imagine if that was a beautiful full color banner with an imaginative and inspiring vision of why we need a Climate Treaty Now. Perhaps all of us would already have seen this image and those three words would be burned into our brains — and would be on our lips.

I’m still hopeful.

But I’m running out on that hope. The climate talks going on right now in Durban are just more of the same; EU hopes for meaningful climate gas limitations and is calling for a new set of talks and agreements, and the US, China, and India, the biggest offenders, won’t even agree to participate in planning for those talks to take place.

As I keep saying to the Occupy movement:  The climate IS, the environment, the economy, and the social and economic justice you seek. Meaningful climate talks will result in stimulated economies AND the economic, social, and ecological justice that will turn this tide of self-immolation. Forbes, no greenfest, has done the math: a meaningful climate treaty will actually be good for the economy. 

What are we waiting for. Take a few moments today to let your lawmakers know. We need a Climate Treaty Now.


Artist, You Are Changing the World

All it takes is one of us. But in order for that one to emerge, many of us need to try.

What am I talking about? I’m talking about the one amongst us, the creative soul who will sit down (or jump up) one day to create art, and the meme-spark of *THE* idea, product, slogan, painting, photograph, video, song – whatever it is – that will catch hold and ignite the human spirit to DO SOMETHING about climate change, will be right there, scintillating in front of your eyes, like a firefly, or Tinkerbell, or (for fans of the Scarred One), a golden snitch.

And what will you do on that day? Will you be ready to capture its brilliance, undiluted? Will you confidently craft from that millisecond of inspiration, the work that will catch on and unite all our minds and hearts in one pulsating dance of recognition and will to do the right thing?


Artists – Why It’s Your Job

I wrote this post for a friend on her 50th birthday as she is working through the process of breaking free of an old, confining identity, and owning her true work in the world. I think it applies to many of us.

* * *

Dear friend who is struggling,

For many of us, our lives and livings are built around little things. We can measure our existence in coffee spoons, in sequences of tasks and doings. Yes, most human beings arise in the morning with the list in our heads; hair to wash and and style; articles or books or web pages to write or make; cars and airplanes and cupcakes and baby diapers to design or change or build or do something to. We teach classes or drive buses or hold up signs in crosswalks. We fix, we listen, we help, we cross things off the list. We do.

For some of us, life is also made up of tiny doings. But the product, the produce for others to see, is the tiny part, the jewel at the end of a labor-atory of labors, the alchemical distillation of the full work.

There are those among us who cannot escape the itch to be real, to shed skin, to feel and taste every catcheable drop of what it means to be human and alive and of flesh and of spirit, all at once and in the separate layers that our extraordinary mind-bodies afford us.

These are tormented souls who release that torment in torrents and in drops. But release they must. They are both observed and observer, painter and canvas, art and artist.

These persons are the eternal adolescents of humanity, torn between the secret, sacred rush of Divinity that still clings from the not-so-distant entry into this world; and the work of preparing for that next Mystery, of return to that from whence we came — all the while, astonished and amazed and stretched in every sinew by the path between.

Dearest friend, these people are artists. They feel the suffering of humanity as if this indeed their one true work. They are only able to alleviate that suffering in themselves and to be in the authentic “doing” of their lives when they are intentionally creating, pushing themselves and their audiences to commit to greater feeling, thought, authenticity, talent, and skill in their doing and being.

Artists who do not pick up the brush, or the scissors, or the saxophone, or clay, or the pen, and FOCUS their art and their hearts, are merely the mad among us. For there is no point to the openness to the torrent without channels for its expression.

Dear friend, you are in every way the personality and the embodiment of the Artist. Know this, and surrender to your art.

Claim and own your craft. The world needs your channeled focused gift. Just as importantly, so do you.

It is no coincidence that one of the (archaic) forms of the verb “be” is “art”.

How great, how wonderful, how mysterious, thou art.


Sixty people shared the link to this blog on Facebook on its first day. Encouraging news. Perhaps we are finally breaking through to a realization of the fundamental agenda and the one action that will save us all – by saving the planet. So, I ask you, to share this blog far and wide, and to invite your friends and every artist that you know to at least read about the contest. We will start posting art as soon as it starts coming in.

We’re also thinking we should have our readers vote on which image will earn the prize money. What do YOU think? And, do you have any better ideas on how to get this idea into the minds of humanity, quickly? But before you go away to think deep thoughts about all this, please, just stop whatever you are doing, hold your hand on your heart, and say, with conviction:


I just did it, and I feel better already.

Climate Change Fund “An Empty Shell”

Without funds to support the poorest countries in efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions , climate change treaties just impose another economic burden:

How This Idea Came About

Between the years of 2005 and 2011 I worked at one of the oldest environmental colleges in the world. While I worked there I sought like Diogenes with his lantern, for the answer to one simple question that I asked faculty, students, and visiting scholars alike:

What is the one thing that we can do as citizens to head off the impending global catastrophe of climate change?

What is the one thing that I, as a citizen, must do?

After years of banging my head against the wall of what Ken Wilber calls “the green meme”, and answers as varied as “we all need to do our part” (uh, duh), “recycle, plant community gardens, and teach your children well,” “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and others that were actually quite thoughtful and well meaning, I cornered Jeffrey Ball, environmental and energy writer for the Wall Street Journal, when he came to the college as a guest speaker for the  symposium on sustainability education.

I asked him my question, and with some pressing, I finally got an answer that made sense.

Climate treaties, he said, citing McKinsey & Co research demonstrating that no amount of individual action by well meaning people would make any dent in the carbon emissions reduction that needs to take place in order to head off the worst effects of global warming via climate change.

The only way to slow down or stop climate change, he said, is multilateral climate treaties, undertaken at a government-to-government level.

At that moment I knew that helping to make this happen would be my work.