Something seems to be shifting in terms of how we are thinking about climate change, it seems to me. Some people are talking less about fear and more about hope, and today, I wanted to share some stories and videos that offer that perspective. I hope that you will consider reading the articles and watching the videos.
Last month, Robinson Meyer wrote a remarkable article in the Atlantic magazine, called How the U.S. Made Progress on Climate Change Without Ever Passing a Bill. He points out that, without ever passing a climate bill, the US has actually surpassed the targets that were in that bill. “That 2009 climate bill, the one that President Barack Obama couldn’t pass? It required the U.S. to cut greenhouse-gas emissions 17 percent by 2020 as compared with their all-time high. Yet last year, our emissions were down 21 percent. The same bill said that the U.S. had to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. Last year, we met that target. We will surpass it in 2021.”
It’s due to what he calls the ‘green vortex’ – a ‘self-accelerating process’ of decarbonizing our society by feedback loop rather than by fiat. “The green vortex describes how policy, technology, business, and politics can all work together, lowering the cost of zero-carbon energy, building pro-climate coalitions, and speeding up humanity’s ability to decarbonize,” he says. “It has also already gotten results. The green vortex is what drove down the cost of wind and solar, what overturned Exxon’s board, and what the Biden administration is banking on in its infrastructure plan.”
And for me, this story in the Christian Science Monitor helped explain what he was talking about. Climate versus jobs? Not in this heartland state. It’s a long story but it is fascinating reading.
Here is the Karunavirus summary of the story: “When Andrew Bowman, whose family has farmed in rural Illinois for five generations, led landowners’ negotiations with a group proposing a new 100-turbine wind project, it was because he sees wind power as stewarding his 1,800 acres for the next generation. His community sees it as a way to keep the school open, support the fire department and library, and offer new income to farmers. It shows how economic progress and climate action have merged, scholars say, moving the climate debate toward irrelevance. In Illinois, “green” growth and innovation is everywhere. Wind and solar projects bring property taxes of $41.4 million and make possible long-needed rural school renovations, support 13,400 jobs and bring $41.8 million to farmers.”
Finally, I happened to see a fascinating 2018 TED Talk by Katharine Hayhoe, entitled The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it. She is an engaging communicator, with a sense of humour.
I liked the talk so much that when A Rocha International’s latest newsletter featured a series of talks she gave to the organization in June, I listened to all three of them. She gives a perspective not so often heard these days – climate science and Christianity – and she is a straight shooter – not so surprising given that she is Canadian and now lives in Texas.
“She often gives public talks on climate science, impacts, communication and faith and her upcoming book, Saving Us – A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope and Healing in a Divided World, shows that small conversations can have astonishing results. Katharine’s three sessions at the A Rocha gathering covered talking climate change with Christians, finding hope and dealing with disagreement.”
I encourage you to read, watch, and share 🙂