NOW is the time for Action

For the sake of our children, us, our neighborhood, our country, and our planet, NOW is the time to take action to reduce the threat of climate change.

These headlines of 2012 from Climate Central  leaves us no choice:
I know I am missing so many other vital headlines from so many other media sources.  However, all these news stories should be persuading us that it is no longer enough to learn, read, blog, and just chat with like minded friends about climate change, NOW is the time to take action.
What should we do NOW to Resolve climate change?
I don’t have all the answers, but here our a few steps that can lead us forward:
1. Organize:
2. Weatherize
3. Nurture OptimismThis actually spells out the acronym: OWN.  Yes, it is time to take personal OWNnership to take action NOW to something about climate change.  This blog will focus on ideas that I took to help me organize with others to help collectively take action to resolve climate change.

Part II and III of this blog will be written next two weeks.

1. Organize NOW: Locally and Nationally

a. Locally: 
It is vital to find like-minded people in your community that can spur you to take action on climate change and vice versa.

One year ago, Larry Lazar and I started the Climate Reality St. Louis Meet Up Group.  We formed this group with the goal of getting local St. Louis area residents who are concerned about climate change to get together for monthly meetings.

At these meetings, we learned about the basic science of climate change, and we shared techniques to communicate about climate change effectively with your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors.  The biggest success was having internationally renowned climate scientists and communicators speak at our meetings via Skype, such as Scott Mandia, Dr. Michael Mann, and John Cook.  Over the past year, we held 8 meetings, with close to 20 people attending each meeting.  At the June meeting with Dr. Mann, over 50 St. Louis area residents attended this meeting.

Another success from our meetings was to network with local community environmental leaders attending our meetings.   We had individuals, such as Ed Smith, Safe Energy Director for Missouri Coalition for the Environment, Jill Miller who was the Regional Organizer for Renew Missouri.  Tom & Carol Braford also attended our meetings.  The Brafords are organizing the Culver Way Ecovillage.   It is the first cohousing ecovillage community for St. Louis.  As also noted in the next section, Tom & Carol are also the local leaders of the Citizens Climate Lobby.  From Ed, Jill, Tom and Carol attending our Climate Reality Meetup gatherings, our members got involved with their groups, which I know strengthened our green community.

Our next meeting will celebrate our one year anniversary.  It will be on Thursday, December 6th at the Ethical Society of St Louis, which is locate 9001 Clayton Rd, St Louis, MO.  Larry Lazar, Dr. Lucas Sabalka, and me will be speaking on the problem and solutions of climate change.  All three of us were trained as Al Gore Climate Reality speakers in San Francisco last August.

b. Nationally

Last winter, local community sustainability activists, Carol & Tom Braford, kept encouraging me to attend their meetings for Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL).  In May, I listened in on the international CCL conference call at Tom & Carol’s house, and I immediately became hooked on Citizens Climate Lobby.

I have listened in on their monthly conference calls every since, which happen on the first Saturday of each month at 1 pm eastern time.  While I was working as a park ranger at Crater Lake National Park, Oregon last summer, I was even able to organize a group of local Ashland, Oregon citizens in August to start listening in on the CCL monthly conference calls.

This group’s focus is to organize ordinary people to effectively ask their members of Congress to pass a carbon fee and dividend act.  A huge step in resolving climate change is to tax carbon based fuels and invest in renewal energy.  Unfortunately, our country will not place a high priority to switch to cleaner, renewal energy until we adequately tax fossil fuels.  CCL strives to have its members personally engage their Congressional Representatives in a friendly, non-threatening manner that persuades Congress to pass a carbon fee and dividend.

CCL is closing in on 50 local chapters/lobby teams located throughout the United States and Canada.  I bet there is a chapter not far from you.  Their next meeting is Saturday, December 1st.  Guest speaker: Dr. Kevin Trenberth, National Center for Atmospheric Research, will be the speaker on the conference call.  He will be speaking about Hurricane Sandy’s connection to climate change.

C. Educate your Community
Where you can, I encourage you to speak out in your community about climate change.  This is what I have been doing in my hometown, St. Louis, Missouri:

On November 10th, I taught a continuing adult education class for St. Louis Community College on Climate Change Communications.  The focus of the class was how to effectively engage your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers about climate change.  Eight people attended this class.

As I mentioned above, last August, I was was trained by Al Gore and his organization, The Climate Reality Project, to be a volunteer presenter.  Thus, I am available in St. Louis and elsewhere to speak to various community groups about climate change.  However, even before I was a Climate Reality Presenter, I gave climate change presentations during the past during the past three years to nearby schools and the Crestwood/Sunset Hills Rotary Club.

For close two years now, I am an active member of St. Louis County Toastmasters.  I have presented seven speeches to Toastmasters.  All of my speeches focused on climate change in some manner.  Three of these speeches, I was voted as Best Speaker by the other Toastmaster members.

Yes, the headlines are screaming that we have so much work to do to resolve climate change.  However, I believe if you can organize: locally and nationally, while educating folks in your community, you can make a difference NOW to resolve climate change.

Best of success to you in this journey!

Next week, we will talk about how weatherizing your home and nurturing optimism will also help reduce the threat of climate change.