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.