Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Do the Math.

"We've got to get past all the petty bickering and get to work. This is about a big transition for society over the next 50 years. The path we're on is unsustainable. We've got to change the course of the whole world."  - Dr. Stephen W. Running, 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Dept. of Forestry, University of Montana
It's the Global Warming, Stupid.
There is now widespread understanding across the scientific community and a growing awareness by the electorate of the truth and gravity of that statement. As evidence rolls in of more frequent and severe storms, record warm temperatures and drought, and exploding disaster recovery costs, society is now heed Dr. Running's admonishment with greater gravity, focus, and speed. That much was made clear during the Tongue River Railroad scoping hearings recently convened in SE MT.

(Image courtesy of NASA)

"A Clean and Healthful Environment" - Montana's Mandate
While much of the testimony was locally focused during those hearings, you couldn't miss the meta-theme rumbling  beneath; that those of us sitting near ground zero of fossil fuels production and transport in eastern Montana are shaken by both the direct impact and the weight of responsibility of global warming. We seriously regard the mandate of our Montana Constitution when it prescribes,
Section 1. Protection and improvement. (1) The state and each person shall maintain and improve a clean and healthful environment in Montana for present and future generations.
     (2) The legislature shall provide for the administration and enforcement of this duty.
     (3) The legislature shall provide adequate remedies for the protection of the environmental life support system from degradation and provide adequate remedies to prevent unreasonable depletion and degradation of natural resources.

An Epidemic of Cognitive Dissonance.
Elected officials at all levels of government, however, are mute on climate change or satisfy themselves with peddling placations over jobs, energy independence, infrastructure and deficit reduction until, like desperation junkies, they can score that last hydrocarbon hit delivering a backdoor rush of corporate favor. In Montana, they support the Keystone XL pipeline, they support mining the Otter Creek coal tracts, they support coalbed methane drilling in the Powder River Basin, and they support building the Tongue River Railroad. Taken in part or in sum, these projects equate to "Game Over" for climate stability, water quality, air quality, wildlife habitat, and public safety. Our politicians have left it to the electorate to roundly stage interventions before someone, perhaps everyone, ODs. Fortunately, help is on the way from several quarters.

Do the Math Tour, 350.org (Nov. 5, 2012)

Do the Math.
Bill McKibben (author, "End of Nature"), Naomi Klein (author, "Shock Doctrine"), and others from 350.org have launched "Do the Math", a biodiesel roadshow designed to take the arithmetic behind greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to strategic cities across the country as a means of mobilizing the electorate to give recalcitrant politicians in county courthouses, statehouses, the U.S. Capitol, and the White House the cover they need to represent people before profits.

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