Please join me, and a whole lot of other people from across the planet – Friday, September 20th (see details at bottom) – Help send a message to policymakers and government leaders everywhere and tell them:
CLIMATE CHANGE IS REAL, IT IS AN EXISTENTIAL THREAT TO OUR PLANET, AND STRONG BOLD ACTION IS NEEDED NOW!
Look it up please (I did) “existential” threat – a threat to our very existence.
Yes, it is serious. And yes, far too many in positions of power and authority have chosen to either look the other way or address the politics of the issue with only lofty vacuous goals, devoid of the bold public policy changes needed to protect the future of our planet.
During the coming week, especially on September 20th – political and government leaders across the U.S. will be offering speeches, press releases, and proclamations galore.
At every level, County, State, and Federal – All will pledge to “take the issue seriously” and to “do something about climate change”. More than likely many will throw in at least a half-promise to “get our county and state off of fossil fuel”.
Each will also praise those who show up to carry signs and exercise their right to free speech. They will say the right words, acknowledge the importance of the issue, and promise to do whatever they can.
It’s up to all of us to hold them to their words. It’s up to all of us to provide the help, and support the political will necessary to make the tough policy changes that must be implemented.
While showing up on Friday, September 20th is critically important, it is only the start. If you believe as I do that climate change is truly an existential threat to our planet – then you must commit to keeping your voice loud and your presence known, front and center.
Those political leaders who want to do the right thing, need our support.
The hard choices needed to slow the rate of planetary warming have political consequences, both positive and negative. As individuals, and as a group we must support those political leaders who support us. Those few who are willing to risk their careers proposing the much needed bold but sometimes politically volatile policy changes, need to know that we have their backs.
The fossil fuel industry and its allies are formidable foes. And make no mistake about it, they are the enemy in our fight to save the planet.
There are lots of strategies to deal with the climate crisis, however, unless the drastic reduction in the use of fossil fuels is a central component – we are fooling ourselves.
We cannot afford to just nibble around the edges, satisfying to some extent our personal need to “do something” while offering our elected leaders “political cover”.
To some, Hawaii’s impact on global warming and climate change may seem insignificant. However, as an island community especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of sea-level rise and hurricanes, Hawaii can and should be a global leader in this battle.
As a community and as individuals there are lots of things we can do. And, with a strong commitment from our government, we can do far more.
We can plant trees and we should. But we should not plant them only to burn them and call the process renewable.
We can voluntarily paint our roofs white to reflect the sun and cool our structures and we should (and I have). But this does not replace requiring via the building code, that all new roofs have a solar reflective coating and thus helping to cool the planet rather than just radiate the heat.
We can drive smaller cars, preferably electric. But without significant additional tax incentives and disincentives, too many of our neighbors will continue to drive Hummers, monster trucks and giant SUVs – putting the small car and its occupants at a disadvantage when there is a head to head competition.
Our State government with the stroke of a pen could phase in a mandate that requires all car rental companies to only rent out electric or other highly efficient automobiles. Tax incentives and disincentives could be used to facilitate the changeover. Imagine the many positive impacts if every rental car on the road in the state of Hawaii was a small electric car.
Our County and State governments could require that 100% of their fleet be electric or otherwise highly efficient. Too often, our Government falls back on “we are trying” or “we aspire to…”. The time for trying and aspiration is long past – it’s time for the County Council and State Legislature to mandate the change.
Taxing the use of carbon or a “carbon tax” is often discussed here in Hawaii but never implemented. The underlying principle that those who contribute the most to global warming and climate change (as measured in their carbon footprint) should also pay the most – is a valid one.
Another valid principle, however, is that politically speaking, raising taxes is probably the most difficult and riskiest vote an elected official ever makes. The excuse most often used to fight against a carbon tax is that it will hurt poor people (which it seems is most of us).
The truth is that a person’s carbon footprint expands with wealth and income. Those with money will travel by air more, have a larger house (swimming pools and air-conditioning, etc) and in general consume far more energy than people of low to moderate-income. Yes, it is also true that low-income households will often drive older, larger and less fuel-efficient vehicles – but public policy initiatives can adjust for this.
The larger truth is that big business, big oil and big cars too often have the political muscle to stop changes in public policy when they fear an impact on their profit margins.
Of course, it is all connected. Whether your focus is on environmental, economic or social justice – left unchecked the increased warming of our oceans and the related climate crisis will and in fact already are exacerbating those many problems and challenges that already weigh heavily on our communities.
Which is why we need you to show up. Climate change is real. It impacts all aspects of our lives and we must send a strong and sustained message to government leaders everywhere. The time for action is now.
What we lack in money for lobbyists and campaign contributions, we can make up in numbers, at the election polls, at the public hearings – and most importantly now – on September 20th.
In spite of the odds. In spite of the enormous threat presented by global warming and the related impacts of climate change – I believe there is hope, and that we can in fact win.
Please join me and many others this coming Friday, September 20 to stand with the youth of today, across our planet – to push back against the powers that be and to fight for a stable, clean, bright future.
11:30-12:30pm Highway cleanup at KCC one-stop-center
1-3pm Sign-waving and speakers at KCC
3pm Bike to the Mayor’s office
3-6pm Sign waving at Kamehameha Statue, Hilo
9am-1pm #Fridaysforfuture sign-waving at Maui County Building
4pm Rally at UH Maui College Great Lawn
4:30pm Sign-waving on Kaʻahumanu Ave followed by music, youth speeches, tabling and more
4-6pm Sign-waving at Molokaʻi Public Library
4-6pm March from Governor’s Mansion to State Capitol to Honolulu Hale