Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rochester, NY joins with 2,000 actions in 150 countries to highlight COP21 Paris Climate Summit

Due to security concerns, the public Paris Climate March is understandably canceled in Paris, making it all the more important that we march en masse locally.

UPDATE: Citing the heightened security situation in Paris, the French government is prohibiting the Global Climate March planned in Paris for 29 November. While this tragedy makes it difficult to go forward with our original plans, we will still find a way for people in Paris to make the call for climate justice heard. There has never been a greater need for Global Climate Marches throughout the rest of the world, and they will continue as planned. Love will win out over fear, and our movement will win over injustice. We encourage everyone around the world to join a Global Climate March and raise their voices louder than ever. Global Climate March

We need thousands to march locally to show our support for an ambitious deal that will avert the worst impacts of climate change. And yeah I know, everything is against having the media and the public to show up for a major march in downtown Rochester on Sunday November 29th at 1:00 p.m., beginning and ending at The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene, 17 Fitzhugh Street S, Rochester, NY 14614. The march, Rochester March for Global Climate Action!, will occur just after Thanksgiving, the start of Christmas shopping season, while TV sports kick into high gear, when it’s probably cold outside, and during a time when the media is focused on the flurry of activity to address heightened security issues in the aftermath of a major international tragedy in Paris.

We get it. We absolutely care, and yet our attention is once again turned away, as it always is, from addressing the existential crisis of Climate Change. It is human to prioritize immediate threats rather than those perceived to be far off. Except Climate Change is now and far off.

The best encapsulation of this uphill battle to focus on a successful COP21 Paris Climate Summit amidst the Paris tragedy is here:

Why a Climate Deal Is the Best Hope for Peace, BY JASON BOX AND NAOMI KLEIN “After the attacks, the French government stated that the COP21 climate summit would begin as scheduled at the end of November. Yet the police have just barred the huge planned marches and protests, effectively silencing the voices of people who are directly affected by these high-level talks. And it’s hard to see how sea-level rise and parched farmland—tough media sells at the best of times—will have a hope of competing with rapid military escalation and calls for fortressed borders. All of this is perfectly understandable. When our safety feels threatened, it’s difficult to think of anything else. Major shocks like the Paris attacks are awfully good at changing the subject. But what if we decided to not let it happen? What if, instead of changing the subject, we deepened the discussion of climate change and expanded the range of solutions, which are fundamental for real human security? What if, instead of being pushed aside in the name of war, climate action took center stage as the planet’s best hope for peace?” (11/18/2015, The New Yorker.

While we put off the hard work of quickly bringing down our greenhouse gas emissions and failing to appreciate how Climate Change will vastly increase the urgency of all the crises we face, the consequences of a warming planet have marched on relentlessly: 

  • ·         We are going to experience the warmest year in human history.
  • ·         At 1C° we are already halfway to hell and 2C° (the universally agreed upon state of hell) will happen in about two decades if we don’t stop our fossil fuel addiction.
  • ·         The insurance industry is worried about their ability to pay up after Climate Change related disasters.
  • ·         Ocean acidification, where the ocean absorbs much of our CO2 emissions, is already making dramatic changes—and not in a good way.   
  • ·         The permafrost melt is beginning to release methane gas, which is a lot more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. With massive permafrost melt, all bets on a slow and gradual warming are off.  
  • ·         The permafrost melt is beginning to release methane gas, which is a lot more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. With massive permafrost melt, all bets on a slow and gradual warming are off. 
There’s a lot more proof that Climate Change is upon us, but more facts seems to make more people’s eyes glaze over even more. Granted, we are in a very hard place. But shutting down and ignoring what we are up against won’t produce a favorable outcome.  

By now it must be obvious, even to the field of psychological science, that most of the public are not inclined to be motivated by either the facts or the ethics behind Climate Change.

Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change Five “Best Practice” Insights From Psychological Science Despite being one of the most important societal challenges of the 21st century, public engagement with climate change currently remains low in the United States. Mounting evidence from across the behavioral sciences has found that most people regard climate change as a nonurgent and psychologically distant risk—spatially, temporally, and socially—which has led to deferred public decision making about mitigation and adaptation responses. SAGE Journals 

Although the social sciences have some theories and action bullets for getting folks to focus on Climate Change, they aren’t much better at predicting human behavior than our politicians. In fact, the public doesn’t want to hear about Climate Change—it annoys them. They are either overwhelmed or underwhelmed. If you tell folks that Climate Change is a great big complicated problem that will change everything, they get overwhelmed and give up. And if you tell the public that the problem is easy and it won’t inconvenience them they don’t feel compelled to act on a scale that will matter.
Honestly, there are no psychological experts who can study us out of this problem of Climate Change and get humanity to act responsibly. How do you get 7 billion people in a small room with a couch? 

We must stop analyzing why our efforts have been so pathetic and act!

The COP21 Paris Climate Summit is humanity’s best shot for a sustainable future—somehow we have to evolve quickly into a more responsible species. We have to keep our eyes on prize: the prolonged effort it will take to address Climate Change, since even if we reach our emissions goals, we will still have to deal with the emissions we’ve already unleashed. We have to help change our media so that they keep us informed and updated on our progress. We can also Become The Media! Submit your video of your group’s participation in this march to the Fast Forward Film Festival. (Also, help get everyone to the march on November 29th. Take a selfe, post it here with these hashtags #‎RocTheClimate, #‎COP21, #‎LowerEmissionsEverydamnday, and post to the world.)    

We have to get out into the streets and march to demonstrate to the world and our media that the public understands and cares about the gravity of our situation.  If we sit this one out, the media will think we just don’t care that we are about to pass a benchmark that will decide our future.  

We take pride that Rochester was engaged in the battle for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery over century ago. Now, we must hold up our heads to the world as we march for a sustainable existence.  


* If friends and relatives from out of town are visiting, bring them along to the march, with their kids, it’ll be fun and rewarding. 

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