Sunday, October 18, 2009

350 Why It Matters

“350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide—measured in ‘Parts Per Million’ in our atmosphere. 350 PPM—it's the number humanity needs to get back to as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change.” –from Understanding 350 | 350.org

Several events are going on in Rochester this coming Saturday for the 350.org and we hope you will attend one. If enough people demonstrate in a positive way that they acknowledge the problem of Climate Change and are willing to make their voice heard, it might make a difference. It’s all on 350.org.

I personally think it matters that we act in some concerted effort now to raise our voice because of the cloud of indifference that wafts over environmental matters. So much irrational and ideological dust has been kicked up over global warming that we have lost the moral point. It goes like this: Only in the last couple of decades has there been overwhelming evidence that we –Homo sapiens—are affecting the planet’s environment.

Up to this point, only a few believed we were doing great damage. But the majority of humanity didn’t really think our puny little species and our busy machinations could actually steer the course of the planet’s biology enough to affect how it all works. Now, no well-informed person can deny that we’ve not only trashed the place, we are on Earth’s board of directors. Way beyond our Peter Principle.

This changes everything. Morality itself takes on a new meaning because our choices aren’t simply about us or our personal salvation. Our choices have a tangible affect on the workings of our planet, even threatening our future and the lives of other beings on this planet. So, if you follow my logic, our sense of Morality must include our responsibility to our environment because we now realize we can actually change it.

It’s a profound idea. This wouldn’t have occurred to Aristotle, Plato, Marx, or even Darwin because they didn’t have computers and satellites to access the data from a far enough vantage point to reach this conclusion. Our ancestors would not have deduced from watching a campfire in a cave that several millennia later, with billions of people and zillions of fires, we can raise the temperature of the planet, so they had better cool it. But, our generation does know.

In the same way that other great ideas have transformed the way we view the world—evolution, monotheism, fire, agriculture—manmade Climate Change will forever change how we see ourselves. Once you realize that we are altering the planet, you must, like a Kantian imperative, acknowledge your responsibility.

One way to act on that responsibility is to attend a 350.org event and get heard by the rest of the world.

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