Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Will this past weekend's Series of Consciousness-Raising Concerts Have any Impact on Global Policy related to Climate Change?

This past weekend with many others I participated in a local house party organized by members of to view the town hall discussion of Democratic candidate positions on climate change, and to listen to highlights from the Live Earth concerts.

As could have been expected, however, the series of concert highlights put together by NBC for broadcast on Saturday evening was a politically expurgated selection that eliminated the most inspiring musical and political performance (in NJ/NY) of the whole day of concerts. Did anyone else catch the performance to which I am referring on the Bravo channel between 6:30 and 7 pm eastern?

This single performance actually served to introduce Al Gore's appearance to declare his 7-point pledge. This performance included a great political critique of the whole system of mind-numbing consumerism and fear that is keeping people from rising up against a deeply unjust global economic-political system that is simultaneously destroying both the planet and our humanity-- through the global violence of a weapons industrial complex dedicated to perpetuating wars and environmental devastation that are already harming the most vulnerable populations across the globe, and will increasingly make us all vulnerable, as we are already witnessing with the increasing prevalence of large fires across the western and SE United States.

For the sake of us all, I hope we are indeed reaching the "tipping point" mentioned so often in the media discussion of the concerts this past weekend. But I fear we may still have far to go to reach the tipping point that allows rhetoric and music, however impassioned, to be turned into truly transformative policy change.

Fortunately, Al Gore's 7-point pledge made a significant shift to move beyond the mere advocacy of individual behavior change to push for broad policy change across all national governments in the world. Individual behavior change, however necessary, can by itself do little to alter the deeper sources of global warming, which are embedded in the global practices of governments and economic systems. And until people organize themselves into a movement to demand and win major policy changes in their national governments, we will not be able to make the kinds of major change we need to make within the next ten years if we are to save not only our children but ourselves from witnessing the decline of human civilization in the 21st century as it becomes a victim of its own greed and inability to live gently and in harmony with our fragile planet Earth.

So, sign Al Gore's pledge, but dont stop there--After signing the pledge, begin organizing with those you meet to build a movement to transform the climate and environmental policies of the US and the rest of the world. Believing is not enough; we must act!


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