We live in the outback country of Eastern Oregon, just up from the California and Nevada borders. In 2014, that means that our area is part of the extreme drought that is likely to be more prolonged due to climate change. We have just seen another winter with hardly any snow. Our mountains have no snow caps, and our reservoirs are drying up.
I recently taught a college writing class using The Global Warming Reader, an anthology edited by Bill McKibben. I knew that global warming had a long history, but I had no idea that the scientific study of the effect of carbon emissions went back over a hundred years. The monthly tracking of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere began in the 1950s, resulting in the Keeling curve which shows rising CO2 levels now over 400ppm. Scientists tell us that anything over 350ppm puts civilization as we know it at risk. You would think it would be in our best interest to listen to the scientists.
The National Climate Assessment shows us that climate change is already happening, primarily due to human-caused global warming. In other words, we have done this to ourselves. We must get over our addiction to fossil fuels. We must begin by acknowledging that our lives have become unmanageable due to our addiction. As individuals, we have become addicts to a petroleum-based economy that fuels our homes, cars, and devices, makes the synthetics for fabrics and plastics, and creates the chemicals for corporate agriculture. How have we come to this sorry state? As part of the recovery process, we need to acknowledge where we went wrong, hurting others and ourselves, so we can begin to make amends.
As oil addicts, we have created an economy powered by fossil fuels with huge profits for the energy companies, our dealers, and all the costs passed on to taxpayers as we struggle to recover from one climate disaster after another. If the energy companies had to pay the cost of these climate disasters, it would not take long to slow global warming and mitigate climate change. As consumers and investors in fossil fuels through retirement plans and other investments, we are all implicated in global warming. It is time to divest from fossil fuels in whatever ways you can.
Knowing that we can mitigate the effects of climate change is a stunning prospect. We literally have the power to change our world, to reduce carbon emissions, and to lessen global warming. We can save ourselves from the worst effects of climate change, but we have to act quickly to shift not only our own lifestyles but our entire economy. The CLEU is here to help you mobilize and support your spiritual community in this effort. You are the clue to our shared future. Let’s work together on behalf of our planet home.