Portland warming rally good start, but…

Portland, Oregon

As I approached Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland, I was unsure of what I would encounter at the Global Warming Rally, which was one of 1300 actions around the country sponsored by a group call Step it Up. I suspected it would be one more lame event of the kind which the mainstream environmentalist organizations tend to put on: ie, lots of talk about lobbying and speeches by politicians.

I was exactly right-on in my expectations. Eric Sten talked about what a wonderful job Portland has done – presumeably under his leadership. Rep. Dingfelder urged support for several half-assed but “crucial” initiatives making their way through the state legislative chambers. I heard a lot of ra ra ra.

It would have been dispiriting if it weren’t for all of the youthful idealism in the crowd.It would have been dispiriting if it weren’t for all of the youthful idealism in the crowd. I say this metaphorically, because, even though a lot of the audience was young, there were also a kind of contagious idealism in the faces of older people as well.

But I don’t think that most of these people are even close to understanding the danger we are in, or the changes which are coming our way in the best of scenarios.

Step it Up’s goal is to get the government to agree to “80 percent reduction in carbon” by 2050. Okay, this is necessary. No argument here.

But the real problem is that we can’t wait. If we don’t do something drastic in the next few years, it could all be too late. There is mounting evidence, accumulated since the recent UN report was drafted, that polar ice is melting at ever-increasing rates which may already be irreversible. We will soon go into feedback loops which release tons of methane into the atmosphere. The science community is saying this, not me.

The machine has to stop, folks. We are looking, in this century, at die-offs, and mass migrations, and wars of survival on a scale never seen in the history of humanity.

Hyperbole? I think not. Please wake up.

Global warming rally, April 14

Website: Face It Oregon

what: rally in downtown Portland
when: 1-3 pm saturday, april 14
where: terry schrunk plaza, sw 3rd and madison, portland
why: because we are the solution

Over the past six months a veritable avalanche of information and publicity has brought the issue of global warming to the forefront of public awareness and discourse in the United States. From the covers of Vanity Fair and Time to the Oscar-awarding winning success of An Inconvenient Truth, global warming seems to be the issue that everyone is talking about. On Saturday, April 14th, a rally will be held in downtown Portland calling on Oregon’s legislators and citizens to take action on one of the most challenging issues currently facing Oregonians, global warming.

The Rally will be held from 1-3 pm at Terry Schrunk Plaza on SW 3rd and Madison in downtown Portland in conjunction with the “The National Day of Climate Action,” which will include over 1,100 demonstrations in each of the 50 states. The Face it. We are the Solution to Global Warming Rally will feature speakers ranging from politicians to community activists to young people and music from local artists. In addition to being able to join hundreds of others in a pledge to measure and reduce their global warming footprint, participants at the rally will have the opportunity to record video messages that will be delivered to Oregon policy makers.
        -from Face It Oregon website.

Language and the Looming Disaster

by Duane Poncy

Why, in the face of looming disaster, do scientists equivocate their language to the point that it becomes a falsehood by omission? Case in point: in an otherwise very informative article on Common Dreams, Brenda Ekwurzel, PhD., a climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists concludes as follows:

A warmer planet means more droughts and extreme heat events, which threaten air quality and human health. Rising sea levels are already affecting citizens living on the coasts.

If the federal government continues to ignore global warming, hurricane damage likely will escalate. (italics are mine)

The truth, which Dr. Ekwurzel, and other scientists know full well, is that their is absolutely nothing that we, or our governments can do to ease the growing intensity of the weather in the short term. It is going to get worse. In the best case scenario, it will take decades to turn this monster around. In the worst case, we will simply have to let self-feeding cycles run their course.

In any case, we should be thinking about survival, and how to minimize the damage which is going to continue to escalate from altered ecosystems, drought, flooding, and extreme weather events, in addition to reducing greenhouse gases.

Pretending that this is something that can just be taken care of by the government, through, say, adhering to the Kyoto protocols, is to send a false message. Wake up climate scientists, you can be more honest than this. Start ringing the alarm bells. It’s the right thing to do!

Source: Global Warming Strengthens Hurricanes
http://www.commondreams.org/views05/1026-27.htm