Provoking a response to climate change

   Last month in Hong Kong, I was a "provocateur." I was invited to play this role at an international conference on climate change, Climate Dialogue: Low Carbon Cities for High Quality Living, in conjunction with the Clinton Climate Initiative's C40, the forty largest cities around the globe that have committed to tackling climate change. This event was in part, preparation for last week's COP-16 negotiations in Cancún.  

   Aside from giving a plenary speech, my role was to provoke the attending leaders into a deeper discussion about engaging the public to reduce the harms of climate change. This was based on TreePeople's experience of how people can effectively lead meaningful change from the "bottom up."

    My stories of the solutions we've pioneered at TreePeople were enthusiastically and very warmly received by many of the city staffers, academics and young people who attended. I'm already receiving requests to return to China to engage others.

Becoming a guinea pig for a Volt

I've just been plugged in as one of fifteen expert consumers selected by General Motors to test out their new all-electric drive automobile, the Volt. I am really excited about this opportunity to test, provide feedback and hopefully, if justified, promote this alternative to polluting technologies.  

Other testers include prominent electric vehicle enthusiasts, such as Robert Becker and Chelsea Sexton (from the film "Who Killed The Electric Car?"), and a few unusual celebrities, such as Bill Nye the Science Guy and Jim Woolsey, who directed the CIA for two years, and has long argued that the U.S. needs to move away from fossil fuels for national security reasons.

I picked up my car last Friday and was trained in how to use it. Wow! Despite the fact that I still love the Prius I've driven for three years, my initial experience of the new Volt is that it's AMAZING! It is sleek, smooth, FAST, powerful, quiet, and totally "tech-ed" out with state-of-the-art electronics.

Using what energizes us

The aim of my recent talk at the Bioneers Conference was to catalyze a rapid response to climate change, to move people - even us caring, committed people - from the inertia where we often find ourselves, to taking action.

But what gets in the way of activating ourselves? So much of the time it comes down to beliefs that we don't make a difference, to myths that change has to come from the top, to impulses that we ignore.

In fact, when we don't take action, we actually harm ourselves.

Catalyzing a rapid response to climate change

Painting of dawn over Los Angeles

I'll be heading to the Bioneers conference this week where I'll be presenting a simple idea. It's an idea you don't hear much among people who worry about the planet and our future.

Environmentalists often say that we are the one species the earth could very well do without. That's so well-accepted among the people of my tribe that it seems to go without saying.

But what if it's not true?

What if we have been designed, crafted, fed, modified, and adapted by the ecosystem (aka Mother Earth), so that both the human species, and all other life, can carry on? What if we are intended to discover and actually engage capacities that we deep down we know we have, but rarely utilize?

What if we've been given that special role all along?

Imagine how important and how joyful the taking up of that responsibility could be, as well as daunting.

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