How This Idea Came About

by climatetreatynow

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.