We spend a lot of time trying to right all the wrongs on this planet. We look outside our own troubled, stressful, turbulent and demanding lives and worry about all the things that legitimately need worrying about.
Of course, we all know that there is one overriding problem that make all other problems seem quaint, even obsolete. And we all know what that is, right?
And we're all doing something about it, right? Right???!!!
There are people on the front line against climate change all over the planet. They are pressuring government officials, releasing reports from international conferences, electing leaders who care, educating others and doing whatever small thing they can in their own back yards, all over the planet.
Some of these people are in rural red states like Kansas and Nebraska.
I'm taking an online course about Climate Change from the University of Melbourne. It's free, very informative and above all extremely valuable to discuss the topic with members of the world community who get it.
My fellow students are from places like England and Ecuador and Canada and California. Imagine my surprise and delight to run across one from Kansas, who was posting about his frustration with his public officials' inaction on the problem.
I feel your pain, brother.
Our lives in rural Midwestern America are idyllic; we have free clean air, free clean water from the Ogalalla Aquifer, fertile soil, fresh, abundant, healthy and cheap food, low population density and low-priced energy (due, however and unfortunately, to public power from coal, and state-subsidized gasoline). It all adds up to a high quality of life for a very low cost. And because life here is so good, it's pretty easy to look the other way on climate change, as too many in our part of the world do.
But more and more in Nebraska are waking up.
Nebraska is the home of many insurance companies, and they understand about climate change. It's full of farmers who understand that something's definitely wrong because the weather ain't what it used to be.
But the group I'm proudest to be part of are the Bold Nebraskans. These are the passionately committed individuals who have been the front line against the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline for five years. In just the last 10 days they have:
1. Testified before an insolent and insulting US Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
2. Raised a solar and wind-powered barn in the path of the pipeline.
3. Showed up en masse to support a landowners' lawsuit against the use of eminient domain for private gain.
Ever known a Nebraskan? For the most part they are quiet, reserved, don't-rock-the-boat types. This state habitually re-elects rabidly stupid conservatives for no other reason than just because they always have. Nebraskans typically don't act out; it's just not in their DNA.
The fact that there are people from the predominantly head-in-the-sand red states of Kansas and Nebraska willing to learn about climate change to expand our knowledge and networks (without having to burn any fossil fuel driving to class!) is a very wonderful thing.
The fact that Bold Nebraskans will stand up to big oil and keep the monstrosity that climate scientists have called "game over" at bay for 5 years is nothing less than phenomenal.
So if we red-staters can do this, then you all out there in more progressive parts of the world certainly can do a lot, too. What are you doing on the one issue that matters most? I'd like to hear about it in the comments.
And I'd like to hear what else you'll do. Because you can always do more. Unless, of course, you've got something more important to worry about than keeping our planet habitable.