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Pledges are popular these days.  It seems almost every week I'm asked to pledge to one cause or another. And I've been doing a pretty regular job of taking the pledges, when asked, for the causes I believe in.  The problem is  too many pledges in too many areas can diminish the significance.  It used to be a pledge was right up there with an oath.  Pledges were reserved for really important things and you only took them when you were really committing yourself to stick with a certain cause or course of action.   I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America... and such.

Pledges are also pretty easy to take these days.  With the simple click of a mouse or touch of a screen you can pledge away.  This also has the effect of diminishing the significance.

 I've decided I'm going to limit my pledges and really give serious thought to those I make before I make them because a pledge taken lightly is really no pledge at all.  

It's also dawned on me that I've been taking a lot of other people's pledges.  I pledge for them and their cause and then try and make it my own.    But I really don't own it.   It results in me having less skin in the game.  It results in my time being dispersed into multiple areas and my effectiveness in any given one of them being diminished.  I end up feeling ineffective and frustrated.  

It's hard to remember all the different causes I've pledged to.  I didn't keep a file.  But I can recall quite a few without thinking too hard about it.  I've pledged to work for universal healthcare.  I believe in it.  I care about it.  I've pledged to work to get Citizens United repealed.  It's important for the future of our democracy.I've pledged to help reelect President Obama and numerous progressive candidates.  I've pledged to support gay marriage and legal pot.  The pledges go on and on but I can't effectively follow through on all of them.  There is not enough time in the day or night to effectively handle it all.  

So, I'm breaking all those pledges I've made to all those worthy causes and starting with a clean slate.  

I've come to the conclusion I need to prioritize and limit the pledges I take.  I can't do it all so I've got to  choose where to focus.  This time I'm making the pledges to myself and not to another and I'm giving them the weight of the pledges of old.

Read below the fold for the pledges I'm making to myself.

First, I pledge to myself to focus on climate change and the environmental and psychological issues surrounding this issue.  I believe this is the overriding challenge of our time effecting virtually every aspect of our life on this planet.

I pledge to myself to refrain from participating in the we said/they said, back and forth tug of war between the Democratic and Republican political camps.  I'm a Democrat.  I don't need to read about the myriad of ways so and so Republican is an idiot and I don't need to write how I think so and so Republican is a fool.  It is a waste of my time and I pledge to not spin my wheels in this way no matter how tempting it is.

I pledge to myself to focus my efforts on actions that will force our political and business leaders to divorce this nation from fossil fuel generated energy.  I will not spend my time promoting local issues such as recycling programs, organic gardening and buying local efforts.  Although all these efforts are worthwhile and necessary I must continue to remind myself that unless top down massive policy shifts occur in this country (and globally) in the very near future these local efforts will result in no greater effect than spitting in the ocean.  We simply don't have time to rely on bottom up change.

I pledge to myself to pick one local issue of global significance to work diligently on.  That issue for me is the plan by the coal industry to ship massive amounts of coal to Asian markets through various ports on the west coast of the United States.  I will focus specifically on the Cherry Point facility proposed to be built in Bellingham, Washington.  

I pledge to myself to refuse to participate in debates on the existence or non-existence of climate change.   That debate is over. It exists.  Debating deniers is like spending time debating whether or not the Earth is flat.  It is non-productive.  I can't fix stupid.

I pledge to myself to refuse to participate in debates about the continued use and reliance on nuclear fission generated  power.  For me the debate is over.  Expansion of fission generated electricity is not a viable option to address climate change.  

I pledge to myself to present a positive message about climate change and support voices of hope wherever I hear them.  I realize that frightening people about its dire effects is not an effective message of change.  Nature will provide those messages for me.  I will instead promote the positive outcomes which will be realized in people's lives by them aggressively taking action.  

I pledge to myself to be a voice against those voices of gloom and doom; it's all over but the body count; you might as well bend over slowly while counting to 10 and kiss your ass goodbye kind of people.  I realize that chances are many lives will be lost and many more  will be shattered by the effects of climate change because we have waited so long, but I also realize that it will probably not cause the human species to go extinct.

I pledge to myself to focus on my area of expertise.   I am a teacher with a degree in psychology.  I will therefore work to change human thinking and actions as it relates to climate change.

I pledge to myself to support fellow kossacks, envionmental groups and effective actions that draw attention to and increase the pressure on our leaders in both business and government to take effective action on climate change.  That is why I'm supporting and encouraging others to support the Do the Math Tour now being conducted by Bill McGibben and 350.org.  

There you go.  These are my pledges to myself.  I wanted to share them with you because it's important, I think, to go public.  It puts more pressure on me.  Hopefully it will serve to keep me more focused and motivated and hold me more accountable for my actions.  

This was an easy and quick diary to write because I only had to rely on my own self for reference.    And in the final analysis that is really the bottom line when it comes down to it right?    To thine own self be true.  

I have looked at the problem and I've discovered the problem is me!  And as James Wells, a fellow kossack reminds me  - "I will not participate in my own destruction."

You can help promote the Do the Math tour by spreading the word on Twitter and Facebook, encouraging people to buy tickets (go to this link to click onto a city to sign up and buy tickets), giving donations for the tour, and promoting the tour with posters in your town or announcements at churches, schools or community meetings.
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The Daily Kos Do the Math Team (PDNC, boatsie, citisven, rb137) is working with Bill, Daniel Kessler and Jamie Henn of 350.org to promote his tour through November with diaries here. If you are interested in writing a diary to help support and spread the word about this tour, please kosmail PDNC.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:03 PM PST.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Hawks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 05:03:32 PM PST

  •  Thank you. I, too, have been profligate with my (6+ / 0-)

    pledges. The result is a daily email onslaught that overwhelms. Unsubscribe is my new favorite button, and I know where my energy needs to go (350.org/climate change - a group of us watched the DC talk today on livestream).

    However, it didn't occur to me to formally define and prioritize my pledges, certainly not the ones to myself. You've given me a useful tool to improve my focus and productivity.

    February 18th. Washington. 350.org.

  •  Thank you so much. I just (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WarrenS, DawnN, SolarMom, citisven, A Siegel

    needed to put things down on paper and then announce.  I am tired of being pulled in too many directions at the same time.  

    If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

    by John Crapper on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:18:57 PM PST

  •  Positive Message (7+ / 0-)

    "I pledge to myself to present a positive message about climate change and ... instead promote the positive outcomes which will be realized in people's lives by them aggressively taking action."

    We need a lot more of that positive message with clear actions that people, whatever they may believe about climate change, even the unfixable stupid ones, can see have practical advantages.  

    But then I believe that Solar IS Civil Defense.

    Solar is civil defense. Video of my small scale solar experiments at solarray.

    by gmoke on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:44:26 PM PST

  •  The upside of making a few, very specific... (6+ / 0-)

    ...pledges is that you're more likely to keep them going.  My daily LTE is an example of that; after three years it's now a positive addiction, and if I don't write a climate letter I get cranky.

    I'm glad that there are other people focusing on other ways to make our lives better, and I donate money in a lot of directions — but my own daily/weekly/monthly work is all about climate change (unless there's an election going on).

    Good diary, John Crapper!  

    Freedom isn't "on the march." Freedom dances.

    by WarrenS on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:59:29 PM PST

    •  Your focus and consistency with the LTE's (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnN, SolarMom, citisven, WarrenS, A Siegel

      was part of my process of realization in this regard. I was and still am very impressed by your dedication.   When      I first started blogging on this site I did it under the name Road Dog and I was all over the place.  It was hard to stay focused. As a result, I completely unplugged for a while and focused on my personal project (the book) which in its essence is an environmental secular religion (a new consciousness).  It is my attempt to motivate.  I'm already successful as far as I'm concerned because it serves to motivate me.   It is my attempt to create an enduring passionate, zealous, evangelical type dedication to the problem in an edgy, satirical, humorous, provocative, way.  

      I'm going to try and focus on things beyond politics and interface with it only when it directly contributes to my efforts with the climate.  

      If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

      by John Crapper on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:31:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I LOVE this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Marcellus Shale, citisven, A Siegel

    I too feel pulled in so many directions... the focus I would like to have is similar to yours.  

    I want to promote climate change solutions that really work. Feed-in tariffs like Germany has, for example, which promote massive adoption of decentralized clean power. Energy efficiency built into building codes is another example.  Mass transit is a third.

    I pledged to write a diary for the Do the Math tour.  It's in my home area tomorrow night (Durham, NC) - I have a ticket but find myself logistically challenged and may not be able to go (work plus family Thanksgiving travel plans getting in the way).  

    Nevertheless, you have given me food for thought for a diary that may not depend on my attendance. Honestly.... I know all that stuff already.  I just need a perspective from which to write.

    So thanks, John.

    “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

    by SolarMom on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:31:08 PM PST

  •  I like your pledges, I pledge to support your (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, citisven

    diaries.

    Personally, I am tired at all the information coming my way. I can't possibly give it all my full attention. I'm going to pledge for myself to filter out almost all issues except Environment and Climate Chaos.

    ❧To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 12:54:23 AM PST

  •  Lots of hard choices here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper, citisven

    that can have 'debates' ...

    I pledge to myself to focus my efforts on actions that will force our political and business leaders to divorce this nation from fossil fuel generated energy.  I will not spend my time promoting local issues such as recycling programs, organic gardening and buying local efforts.  Although all these efforts are worthwhile and necessary I must continue to remind myself that unless top down massive policy shifts occur in this country (and globally) in the very near future these local efforts will result in no greater effect than spitting in the ocean.  We simply don't have time to rely on bottom up change.
    We have to be careful from having people believe that 'bottom up' is all there is or that is the primary, on the other hand bottom up can have direct impacts and it also can be important as an activism / education tool as we seek to build political and social and cultural will / momentum for meaningful policy action.

    Years ago, my pledge was narrower:  New Year's resolution

    Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

    by A Siegel on Mon Nov 19, 2012 at 07:08:30 AM PST

    •  true dat (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel, John Crapper

      I think it's possible and necessary to do both, the big battles and the small ones. I look at it this way: should we indeed be successful in getting oil companies to drill less and our government to be invested in the big structural changes we need, we better be ready in our local communities to live the kind of lives that are less fossil intensive. So every little thing counts, despite the fact that indeed we can't recycle our way out of this. But at the same time we should not delude ourselves into thinking that we can simply shut off the oil and coal faucet and replace it all with clean energy without changing our infrastructure and habits. Conserving energy like insulating our buildings and being more aware of how we waste energy in our daily lives, goes hand in hand with demanding that less fossil fuels be extracted and burned. I'd say it's almost the moral foundation of complaining against oil companies to do whatever we can in our personal lives and communities to make do with less fossil fuels.

  •  John, another stellar diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    John Crapper

    I too am a bit weary of all the pledging and clicktivism, and of getting overwhelmed by an avalanche of causes and information. We can't all do it all at once, and so it's good to pick our battles. That said, I think it's important to not become too single-minded and stay tuned into the connections between the different issues. Not that we can fight every single battle, but to me it's fascinating to keep making connections, like for example, obesity crisis => public health => food production => farming => agribusiness => fossil fuel => climate change. I think it's important for those of us who decide to be the climate hawks and go after oil companies or the federal government to stay aware of those connections and ally ourselves with those that are more focused on these other battles in the chain whenever time and energy allows.

    That said, I totally dig your pledges and this diary, it resonates very deeply with me in terms of the overwhelming mountain of information and problems we can get buried in in this modern media world.

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