“So you’re telling me 196 countries agreed to keep global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees C (3.6 F) even though they know that their current pledges, so far, are too low to meet that goal. And while the wealthy countries agreed to raise their financial contributions in this cause, most are throwing in only a tiny fraction of their GDPs. For example, the U.S. commitment over the next 5 years is less than one-thousandth of a percent of its annual GDP,” chuckled Conrad. “Sounds like pie-in-the-sky to me,” he smirked.
“Ahh…the cynic strikes again,” Oscar countered. “Nobody said this would be easy. But consider the alternative – rising sea levels causing infrastructure damage and refugee problems, increasing crop insecurity, ocean acidification, and increased extreme weather events – all expensive consequences. On the other hand, with continually improving technologies and economies of scale, the smart money is betting on a clean energy future that steadily reduces fossil fuel use.”
“OK, OK, so times are changing, and this is an important issue,” conceded Conrad. “It just seems overwhelming.”
“But,” smiled Oscar, “Americans are great at taking on seemingly insurmountable problems. After all, who was it that put a man (several men actually!) on the moon and defeated fascism on two fronts at the same time during WWII? We can DO this! But it’s going to take a new way of thinking. Outdated thinking often limits decision-making priorities to comfort, convenience and cost. Now’s the time to add climate into that equation.
“Consider the climate when making purchases; it’ll be a wise and healthy shift in priorities. Consider the climate when traveling locally or across the country. If seven billion earthlings each make small adjustments in priorities we can have a huge impact. Consider the climate in your investments and at the polls because WE’RE the ones the world’s been waiting for to shape a healthy future. Consider the climate, and you’ll exemplify the finest of human qualities – compassion for others. Consider the climate and the whole environment because this small blue and white sphere is the only home we’ll ever know. We’re here forever…Earthbound.”