Thursday, June 23, 2011

Climate of Denial

A case in point is the link I posted on Facebook earlier this evening. It is an article written by Al Gore for Rolling Stone magazine, which was picked up by Reader Supported News. The article is excellent: comprehensive, accurate, and entertainingly written. But it is long. Those among my friends who are most likely to read it are already convinced.  For all the others, here is the bottom line:
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 and, 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."

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little Bit Deeper

Without much free time available, I am likely to grow this blog slowly, but I am looking for a place to explore a few topics (and share those explorations) in greater depth than is possible, say, on Facebook. In fact, the whole idea came about from my Facebook activities. To be more specific, I noticed that some of my friends would post links to pages, but give no clue about what they find interesting or what their own thoughts are.

So my first approach was to avoid publishing links on Facebook without also posting at least a brief explanation as to why. I soon realized, however, that many topics require more thought than this allows, so I started writing "notes". This was more satisfying, but notes, too, have their limitations. They are not easily indexed, for example. My next idea was to develop my own web page, and I may do this yet, but that takes a lot of work, and for the kind of explorations I'm interested in undertaking a blog is more ideal. Furthermore, although I do not expect many comments, having the infrastructure to allow comments seems like a good idea. So here I am.

In broad strokes, I would like to dig deeper into: (1) religion and spirituality, (2) human rights and human dignity, (3) health and healthcare, (4) education and the arts, (4) environment and energy, and (5) economics and politics. Actually, it was the political arena that got me thinking along these lines in the first place. On Facebook it is easy to post a link to an article or editorial espousing a given political opinion, but the typical outcome is polarization. As a result, I tend to avoid political opinions as much as possible. To ignore political realities, however, is irresponsible. Therefore, to the extent that I do write about politics, I hope to be able to explain my views in ways that promote dialog rather than yelling past each other.