Earth a Lucky Fluke?
Is the Earth one of many habitable planets in the universe, or are human beings alone, the product of a lucky fluke? Author of “Lucky Planet: Why Earth is Exceptional–and What That Means for Life in the Universe”, David Waltham says it’s more likely the latter, thanks to our planet’s unusually stable climate and early development of life.
But whether Earth’s climate can still said to be “stable” is now, unfortunately, open to question. We humans have have relied far too extensively on fossil fuel burning – especially coal, oil (gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, propane, fuel oil) and natural gas (methane), which all emit greenhouse gases to the atmosphere upon combustion, since the onset of the Industrial Revolution. What Earth needs now is another kind of revolution, a peaceful revolution, but where humans use their own physical power and the energy of the Sun and the wind and rid themselves from the over-dependence on burning fossil fuels. Read about a plan to do just that right here and then sign the petition to our elected governmental officials demanding they undertake the necessary changes to make this happen before its too late! Thank you.
Conserve NOW Petition to President Obama, U.S. Congress, Wisconsin Governor Walker and Wisconsin Legislature to Enact and Fund Climate Change Legislation
PETITION TO: U.S. PRESIDENT OBAMA, U.S. CONGRESS, WISCONSIN GOVERNOR SCOTT WALKER, WISCONSIN STATE LEGISLATURE
Title of petition: “Pay Individuals and Families, Annually, for Maintaining a Smaller Global Footprint”
(Sign petition here.)
Enact and Fund Legislation to Annually Pay Families and Individuals who Record a Smaller Global Footprint Each Year.
People would voluntarily apply to a “Minimize My Global Footprint” program, and work towards (1) minimizing the number of miles they drive their vehicle(s) in a year. The families and individuals who record the fewest number of driving miles in a year’s time, as recorded on their vehicle(s) odometers (illegal to modify in Wisconsin), or if they do no driving at all over the year, would earn the most money for their “low global footprint of driving”; (2) people who choose not to fly by an airplane anywhere during that year (flying emits the largest global impact due to the long distances traveled) would earn the maximum amount of money allowed for their “zero global footprint of flying” that year; and (3) people who minimize their household use of fossil-fuel-derived electricity and/or heating (by installing solar panels, installing more efficient windows, replacing light bulbs with LED lights, adding more insulation, or turning the heat down in winter and up in summer, or using less hot water) or obtaining their energy from wind turbines, would earn the “minimum household energy use global footprint”.
Depending on how successful each individual or family was at minimizing their driving mileage and flying, and minimizing their energy use in their home, they could earn up to $22,800 in a year. African-American individuals and families would be eligible to earn a higher maximum of $30,400 per year. (For tables identifying lower amounts, see “Conserve, NOW” at: http://www.allthingsenvironmental.com and multiply by four.)
Conserve Now ex sum
Conserve NOW!1.doc; Final
As with practically every new major governmental initiative, there would undoubtedly be some “bugs” to work out. But “TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE “when it comes to reducing our aggregate annual emissions of greenhouse gases to our atmosphere, because, at 400+ parts per million (ppm) carbon dioxide (CO2), we have already far exceeded the natural concentration level of those gases (eg. 350 ppm CO2) in the atmosphere that scientists claim to be “safe” for the planet. Continuing to pave over the landscape with Portland cement and bituminous asphalt, for the purpose of expanding highways and building more freeways and bridges to accommodate more motor vehicle driving, and adding more airplane runways to accommodate more flying by everyone, is totally unsustainable for the preservation of our planet for life in the future.
In fact, NOTHING is more URGENT than for everyone to SIGNIFICANTLY REDUCE their activities THAT BURN LARGE QUANTITIES OF FOSSIL FUELS (and emit tons more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, where they remain upwards of 100 years. One way to do this is to fly less (or not at all), and drive less, or not at all, by using more sustainable modes of transportation (such as bicycling, walking, using mass transit), and by conserving on fossil fuel burning in their home, or by using less electricity (that which is generated by burning of fossil fuels; i.e. solar and wind powered electricity not counted).
Unfortunately, our planet is already exhibiting the damaging impacts of having excessive concentrations of greenhouse gases in its atmosphere. The climate has already changed in many places: heat records have been broken, massive flooding has occurred, oceans are rising and becoming more acidic, extreme drought and massive wildfires has cost the nation billions of dollars – all will worsen with more global warming
Another problem this proposal aims to address is the clearly grotesque disparities between the top and lowest annual income levels in the U.S., especially for African American families. Some say the low income levels of African American families and individuals in the U.S. is rooted in the U.S. government’s condoned enslavement of African Americans on plantations in America for close to 400 years (40 generations), until finally being outlawed by President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The government’s order provided the slaves with their freedom but failed to require or cover payment of financial reparations to the African Americans for their long period of enslavement (close to 40 generations of slavery!); hence, the increase in annual financial incentives for African American families and individuals to reduce greenhouse emissions.
In short, the U.S. Congress, President Obama, state Legislatures and our governors should, without delay, go to work and adopt this revolutionary new approach to addressing global warming and the inequalities that remain within the American economy, while only touching the surface of the reparations that really ought to be made to present day African Americans, for nearly 400 years of slavery of their ancestors. Our current political leaders need to show the courage that millions of American’s soldier exhibited in World Wars I & II, and all the many other wars where American soldiers put themselves in harm’s way and adopt this proposal into law.
The prognosis for Planet Earth and all life forms that exist on it is getting increasingly dire by each day we fail to have political action to slow global warming and prepare for the increasingly bad effects of global warming. We need a new paradigm to counter global warming which is the now is widely accepted as reality and our fault.
The effects of increasing global warming are overwhelmingly negative and severe, cause massive negative environmental changes, and continuing global warming will create environmental, social, and economic havoc that would not otherwise occur. This proposal needs to be fast-tracked in the Congress, not only to provide supplemental income for families demonstrating their small global footprints annually, and annually thereafter. The alternative of “no action”, which has continued to be employed by our governmental officials in Washington D.C. and by our state Legislature, is that catastrophic global warming effects will not only continue but worsen, and the effects are, for all intents and purposes, irreversible.
Money for this program could come from a variety of sources. First, Congress should use the billions of dollars ($18.5 billion in 2013) that subsidize U.S. fossil fuel industries (coal, oil, natural gas) and instead use those funds to pay incentives to the public who apply to this program, and minimize their global footprint. Hopefully, this will help slow global warming in time and reduce the current rate of sea level rise. The rate of changes in the climate that have already been set in motion (drought in California and Guatemala, ice melting at poles, mountain glaciers receding) might at least be slowed but we must act now.
Our economy and public health would be expected to improve with the full implementation of this program, and while the primary purpose of the program is to slow climate change, the benefits of not using as much coal, natural gas and oil will help the environment by reducing the need for additional infrastructure for providing fossil fuels, such as pipelines carrying dirty crude oil from the tar sand region of Canada and other negative environmental impact developments. There would need to be less flammable products transported by rail. The air would get cleaner with less coal being burned and fewer car and jet airplanes emissions. The additional income would help families presently struggling from having insufficient family and individual income, due to the low minimum wages in the U.S., reductions in monthly food shares, having children with disabilities that require extra money and discrimination in employment. Income disparities have never been higher in the U.S.. Transit systems and pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure is needed in many communities for people who choose not to own and use cars. Madison, Wisconsin, for example, has had a long history of building for travel without cars and serves as a model for promoting non fossil fuel transportation, year round.
Adoption of this program would help all individuals and families that conserve energy and preserve our environment.
The funds could come from a multiple sources of sources not just the fossil fuel industry. The airline industry is heavily subsidized by the U.S.Federal Aviation Administration, despite the fact that a large percentage of American don’t fly at all during the year. The National Air Traffic Controllers Association has more than 15,000 FAA-employed controllers, The FAA has an operation budget of $16 billion. Groups such as the National Business Aviation Association, a Washington-based trade group for corporate flight departments, have opposed any arrangement requiring fees. Of course they do, its in their own best interest. But is it in the interests of all Americans and the future of the planet to reduce global warming caused by too much fossil fuel burning.