Posts Tagged ‘environment’

Green, the new black

October 30, 2009

Anybody driving across town last week couldn’t but notice the signs along the road sides on all main roads leading to and from town center. 350 Day was celebrated last Saturday around the world with some 3,500 demonstrations in more than 170 countries.

350, a citizen action group, founded and led by author of The End of Nature, Bill McKibben, hopes to steer enough public activism and to bring people, media and governments together to create climate change. With the upcoming UN Framework Convention on Climate Change taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark later in December, 350’s climate-change rallies, walks, sign-making and a host of other localized events were especially timely.

The other week, speaking at a Harvard University “Climate Convocation” event, McKibben said that climate change is too late to stop, but not too late to act.

Across town, on the same side of the Charles, just last Friday, President Obama addressed an invitation-only crowd of environmentalists, community activists, industry leaders and MIT faculty and students:

“From China to India, from Japan to Germany, nations everywhere are racing to develop new ways to produce and use energy. The nation that wins this competition will be the nation that leads the global economy. I am convinced of that. And I want America to be that nation. It’s that simple.”

While I believe in pushing for excellence and leadership, I somewhat question the desire to win first place in a race. It might be a race, but it’s not that simple. It’s certainly not about winning first place in this race. It’s more about working in unison to be winners, or – as a world – losing together.

Living 2.7 miles from town center, I did not get to hear the 350 rings of church bells opening the day’s events on October 24. Though, like everybody else, driving to the Post Office or Transfer Station that morning, or stopping briefly at Ferns, I noticed the signs around town.

Environmentalist and local activist Mike Hanauer listed the events planned in town on the 350.org website, followed by a post on the City in the Woods website, calling community members to join the planned rally. He was “heartened by the fact that there were about 500 people at Concord, about three times what I would have predicted for a rainy day.”

Saying that Carlisleans played a major part in planning and attendance he adds, “Carlisle Climate Action has just signed onto the “Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy” initiative (http://steadystate.org/), which I believe is an excellent start in that direction. Bill McKibben and E.O. Wilson have signed on as well. I have; you can.”

Lowering CO2 emissions is a much needed step; though lacking public transportation (for example) might make it harder to do in Carlisle. Meanwhile, we shall not be asking what our town can do for us, but rather what we can do for ourselves to “green the black.”