by Tom Church & Sheila Gallagher
We, the people, get it. Why not our “Leaders”?
We are just back from the February DC rally—Forward on Climate—attended with 40,000+ of our friends and neighbors. Marching past the White House. Past the fence where, several days before, 350.org’s Bill McKibben and Sierra Club’s executive director Michael Brune and president Alison Chen hand-cuffed themselves. How seriously do they take the concept of Global Warming? These scary, awesome weather events and impacts to our homeland that continue to occur at astounding rates.
“We can’t continue to exist on Mother Earth without consequences, without sacrifices on our part. Sprinting toward disaster is stupid. That we aren’t aiming our incredible problem-solving ability at achieving a symbiotic relationship with our Host is insanity!”
Bill was arrested last summer. But this was the first time in the 120-year history of the Sierra Club that the usually noncombative organization went beyond their lobbying role… allowing Mike and Alison to take “one giant step for mankind” outside our legal system and plunge themselves into civil disobedience. Polls now show that most people believe, not only that the climate is changing, but that we humans are responsible and that we continue to dig a hole we may never be able to climb out of. Most of our “Leaders” are still sitting on their hands. They are not leading. In fact, they are not even following! Not following the science or common sense. They were elected to protect the interests of the people they “serve”. Who are they serving if not the “people”? The personified corporate business interests affirmed by the Citizen’s United case? Following their tails? We don’t really know. They don’t get it!
Not too long ago, people and corporations were asked to recycle. Many dragged their feet. Some even lay down and had tantrums. Others had to be dragged kicking and screaming. Remember the TV ad that had an employee telling his boss being green by recycling saved his company money? Saved money is made money. Suddenly, the executive was growing leaves. Getting on the bandwagon. Getting with the program. Getting It.
All over the world, governments are taking global warming challenges very seriously, making serious headway toward sustaining their futures. Meanwhile our so-called “leaders” are stuck in their uncompromising, gold-plated bubbles. Or if they somehow believe that the ice caps are melting and the seas are rising, they also believe some miracle will preserve their status quo.
Guess what? We won’t beat Mother Nature. We can’t even compete. We’re not in the same league. We are the “wanna bes” and if we don’t join Her team we are surely gonna be the “has beens”. We think we’re winning in a universe we’re still struggling to understand? Parasites sucking the bodily fluids, mining the minerals, and pumping toxic wastes into our host as She suffers and eventually dies. We continue to kill our pollinators and poison our food supply with pesticides like Round-up or worse. Why? Have we not learned anything from the ancient civilizations that succeeded in destroying themselves? We study them, criticize them, and skip merrily down the same path. But this time it’s our planet Earth that’s at stake. Not the Roman or the British Empires. This is the only Earth we have. Or are you counting on the one our “leaders” haven’t found yet? Do you expect to be transported to some other “pie in the sky” when we are done eating this one?
In our house we’ve stopped reading the newspaper. We’ve stopped listening to the politicians on the TV—it’s like watching the Marx Brothers or the three Stooges make fools of themselves. We liked watching the old comedians. They were supposed to be fools. They made a great living being fools. Well, come to think of it…. our “Leaders”. As we marched down the street toward the White House, Tom spouted stories about working for a natural gas company back in the 80s and 90s, experiences that might have been funny if they weren’t so dysfunctional and upsetting.
It is time for all of us to transition from the parasites we’ve become. It’s no longer a “want”. It’s now a “need”. We need to be hanging out with others from around the world laughing and telling stories. Real ones. Funny ones. Sipping margaritas cooled by our renewably, naturally-powered refrigeration. Getting it free because our energy links are harnessed to nature—solar, wind, waves. We can’t continue to exist on Mother Earth without consequences, without sacrifices on our part. Sprinting toward disaster is stupid. That we aren’t aiming our incredible problem-solving ability at achieving a symbiotic relationship with our Host is insanity!
Or will we, with our “leaders”, still be standing here in our dirty coveralls. Screaming to be heard over the din of the drilling rigs, over the “dirty” politicians and the naysayers of the “Know Nothing“ parties?
Tom does residential remodeling and Sierra Club event planning with wife Sheila. Sheila serves on the Executive Committee of the Sierra Club’s Lehigh Valley group; is chair of the Sustainable Agriculture & Climate Change committees of the PA Chapter Sierra Club; is on the Fundraising Committee for the Easton Historic House Tour; and serves on the Alliance Steering Committee.
(Published in the 2013 edition of Sustainable Lehigh Valley)
(Essays express the ideas of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Alliance.)