April 29 Peoples Climate Mobilization – We March for the Future
On April 29, We March for the Future We’ll either save or doom the planet during the Trump administration. Don’t sit the Peoples Climate Mobilization out., The Nation, 20 Apr 17 By Bill McKibben,
It is hard to avoid hyperbole when you talk about global warming. It is, after all, the biggest thing humans have ever done, and by a very large margin. In the past year, we’ve decimated the Great Barrier Reef, which is the largest living structure on Earth. In the drought-stricken territories around the Sahara, we’ve helped kick off what The New York Times called “one of the biggest humanitarian disasters since World War II.” We’ve melted ice at the poles at a record pace, because our emissions trap extra heat from the sun that’s equivalent to 400,000 Hiroshima-size explosions a day. Which is why, just maybe, you should come to Washington, DC, on April 29 for a series of big climate protests that will mark the 100th day of Trumptime. Maybe the biggest thing ever is worth a day……
This week of rallying is the logical extension of the climate-justice movement that emerged in the last decade, led by frontline communities and climate scientists, by indigenous people and farmers and ranchers. All the battles currently under way will be on full display as we march: against the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines and now a dozen others; against fracking wells and mountaintop-removal coal mines; for solar panels, solar panels, and more solar panels. (Not to mention bikes, buses, and electric cars.) This march embraces, finally, large segments of the labor movement. Workers and citizens dying in the heat and floods will march next to scientists pale from too many hours in front of the computer. It is a march for the future.
But reaching the future depends on dealing with the present, and the present is uniquely bleak. Governments have been oblivious before, but it’s hard to remember one as actively, determinedly stupid. It was revelatory to watch, earlier this month, as even Fox’s Chris Wallace filleted Scott Pruitt, the head of Trump’s EPA. “What if you’re wrong?” he finally asked the flustered Pruitt, who couldn’t quite recall even climate denialism’s standard talking points. Pruitt, of course, is wrong, since his entire job is to represent the industry that has spent a quarter-century lying through its teeth about climate change. But he’s aggressively wrong—he hadn’t even started his new job before the transition team was leaking news that the administration was ready to defund the satellites we use to keep track of the climate. Think about that for a moment. We’re not just going to ignore the mounting evidence; we’re going to stop collecting it.
Which helps explain, I think, the mounting anger of the scientific community. They’ll march first, on April 22, to the National Mall, and in hundreds of satellite marches around the world. Expect lines of people in lab coats, pushing equation-laden blackboards down the streets of Washington. Scientists have been, for the most part, resolutely apolitical: Their job has been to provide the data, offer the analysis, and then stand back and let “policy-makers” take over. In a rational world, that would make sense. There’s no particular reason why someone who knows the best way to compute the melt rate of Greenland’s glaciers (no easy task, by the way) would also know the best way to move us off fossil fuel.
But as scientists have finally begun to realize, there’s nothing rational about the world we currently inhabit. We’re not having an argument about climate change, to be swayed by more studies and journal articles and symposia. That argument is long since won, but the fight is mostly lost—the fight about the money and power that’s kept us from taking action and that is now being used to shut down large parts of the scientific enterprise. As Trump budget chief Mick Mulvaney said in March, “We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that.” In a case this extreme, scientists have little choice but to be citizens as well. And given their credibility, it will matter: 76 percent of Americans trust scientists to act in the public interest, compared with 27 percent who think the same thing about elected officials………
the news isn’t all grim. In fact, what makes the current Trumpish backsliding so absurd is that it comes just as we’ve figured out at least some of what we need to do about climate change. The price of a solar panel has dropped 80 percent in the last decade and continues to plummet. In much of the world, wind power is now the cheapest way to generate electricity. That means that if we wanted to, we could take giant steps—fast. A few nations have shown the way: Denmark produced nearly half its power from wind in 2015, and Costa Rica ran its electricity system almost exclusively off renewables. The price of batteries is dropping just as fast now, and their capacity grows with each new iteration. It’s not just Elon Musk; the Chinese are starting to drive this revolution as they install vast quantities of renewable power.
Which is a good reminder that markets alone are not going to make this transition happen—at least, they’re not going to make it happen fast enough to catch up with the physics of global warming. For that we’ll need concerted government action, like the Senate bill that Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley will introduce in late April calling for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. It won’t pass, obviously—but it will serve as the new standard for sensible people to rally around.
And it will be popular—every poll shows that Americans of every ideology love solar power (close to 90 percent in some surveys). Not only that, but they’d love the jobs that come with the transition to solar: by first estimate, about 4 million. That job growth should put Trump’s endless posturing about coal miners in stark relief—thanks mostly to automation, there are barely 76,000 of them left; twice as many Americans work in car washes.
All these streams will converge on the National Mall on April 29, chosen because that weekend marks Trump’s first 100 days in office. This Peoples Climate Mobilization(#ClimateMarch) will be the big one, the sequel to the massive protest that filled the streets of New York in September of 2014. Expect—well, expect lots of people determined to show that they’re fed up with Trump’s nonsense and aware that there’s another future available. We’ll be marching from the Capitol, up Pennsylvania Avenue, and we’ll completely surround the White House—a kind of citizens’ arrest of the nincompoop inside. There will be a moment of silence and then tremendous noise, loud enough to shake the occupants of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue to their senses if they had them. We’ll end with a closing event at the Washington Monument, where people will be able to gather in “circles of resistance” and talk about the road ahead. (There will also be candidate training the next day for climate activists who want to run for office.)…..https://www. thenation.com/article/on- april-29-we-march-for-the- future/
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