So how can we make it happen? How can we as individuals make a difference? In five basic ways:
1. Become a committed advocate for solving the crisis.
2. Deepen your commitment by making consumer choices that reduce energy use and reduce your impact on the environment.
3. Join an organization committed to action on this issue (such as climateprotect.org and 350.org, but there are many other good ones).
4. Contact your local newspapers and television stations when they put out claptrap on climate.
5. Above all, don't give up on the political system. Even though it is rigged by special interests, it is not so far gone that candidates and elected officials don't have to pay attention to persistent, engaged and committed individuals.
To make our elected leaders take action to solve the climate crisis, we must forcefully communicate the following message: "I care a lot about global warming; I am paying very careful attention to the way you vote and what you say about it; if you are on the wrong side, I am not only going to vote against you, I will work hard to defeat you — regardless of party. If you are on the right side, I will work hard to elect you."
This is not naive; trust me on this. It may take more individual voters to beat the Polluters and Ideologues now than it once did — when special-interest money was less dominant. But when enough people speak this way to candidates, and convince them that they are dead serious about it, change will happen — both in Congress and in the White House. As the great abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass once observed, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will."