23
Mai
2004

Why you are responsible for Climate Change and the Western drought, and what you can do about it

By Dr. Glen Barry

http://www.environmentalsustainability.info/blog/

May 14, 2004

Think environmentalists are a bunch of whacked out hippie communists? Perhaps some. However, if you eat, drink, breathe or crap - what they know and espouse has importance to you and your children's lives, indeed, your very existence.

Dark Greens realize that the Earth's processes and life diversity are required to maintain ecosystems and all aspects of human life. Forests, water, the atmosphere and oceans remain in a delicate balance that provides the conditions for life.

Perhaps nowhere are failing ecosystems more readily evident and acute than the western United States. The region, including California, is in the grips of a severe drought and annual large forest fires - the result of climate change, poor land use, faulty water management and over-population.

The response thus far from the Oil Presidency is to heavily log the forests so they don't burn - his "Healthy Forests" initiative, and to propose massive rollbacks of air pollution rules - the likewise Orwellian "Clear Skies" program. And he has turned his back on climate change by rejecting the Kyoto Treaty while offering no alternatives.

President Bush has no grasp of ecological fundamentals, and rules as if the Earth has no value. These programs are a fraud being waged upon the American people and environment for the benefit of industry. How could fragmented, over-managed, dry forests that are fire adapted do anything but burn?

The not so Wild West's ecosystems have been severely degraded and are nearing collapse. It is wrong to spend millions of dollars to fight fires every year. When possible, let them burn. Fires are an integral part of the region's natural history and are responsible for ecosystem regeneration including making healthy, natural baby forests.

A more effective approach to Western drought and forest fires would emphasize land use planning, reduced logging, restoration of old-growth forests, and an aggressive national climate change policy. Residential sprawl into forested areas must be restricted, fragmented landscapes reconnected through targeted restoration activities, and degraded forests allowed to regenerate - thinning and burning naturally as they mature and acquire late successional old-growth characteristics.

Solutions exist. All Americans and other affluent nations are going to have to change the way they live. Sprawling automobile dependent suburbs will give way to compact walking communities - with smaller houses and cars, but a larger sense of community and well-being.

There are a myriad of personal actions all persons - particularly the affluent - must take to achieve personal ecological sustainability. Choose quality over quantity of consumption. There are many ways to consume wisely including buying compact fluorescent lightbulbs and using 100% recycled paper. Have fewer children, no more than two. Buy and love a piece of land, and help it to rest and restore itself.

Our cumulative actions have caused climate change and fragmented forests, leading to the present crisis in the West and elsewhere. Only immediate remedial action on all of our parts will repair failing ecosystems. These and other measures can be taken now while affluence is relatively high and sustainable options to achieve a comfortable and meaningful life abound, or they can be made under duress as ecosystems fail in times of great scarcity, limited options, and civil strife.

It is not simply whether our civilization survives. How will we do so?

Will it be through imperial militarism and pillaging of other countries, or by reforming our excessive consumption and becoming more efficient?

Will we restrict freedoms, or enlarge them? Will there be prosperity for the few, or the many?

Global ecological sustainability depends upon diffusion of a new code of conduct. Respecting and caring for the Earth must become the highest judge of an individual and the merit of their actions. Living for and of the Earth must become the foundation of an honorable new way of life.

The Earth is truth and beauty and sacred. The Earth is God.

As the West and Earth burns, the Emperor fiddles and bombs.

Failure to recognize, acknowledge and reform your life's impacts upon the Earth makes you the petro-bomber's second fiddle, and implicates you in the burning and demise of Gaia.

Living as if the Earth matters, indeed, is worthy of reverence, must be your code of conduct and become the fundamental organizing principle of society.

ENDS

Stop Climate Change, Insist Russia Ratify Kyoto
http://forests.org/action/climate/
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