Letters to the Future: You Deserve a Chance

The following post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post and Letters to the Future, in conjunction with the U.N.’s 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris (Nov. 30-Dec. 11), aka the climate-change conference. Letters to the Future is a project produced by the Sacramento News & Review, the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the Media Consortium, in which a variety of writers, scientists, artists, and others were asked “to predict the outcome of the Paris talks (the success or failure and what came subsequently) as if writing to their children’s children, six generations hence.” To view the entire series, visit here. Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #LettersToTheFuture, and follow @ParisLetters. For more information on the project, visit here.

As a young boy growing up in Searchlight, the unique beauty of the Nevada desert was my home. Our family didn’t travel or take vacations, but we were able to visit Fort Piute Springs, which was just 15 miles from our home. Fort Piute Springs was a starkly beautiful place. From the gushing ponds of water to the beautiful lily pads and cattails, Fort Piute’s beauty was magical. Decades later, I returned to visit Fort Piute Springs and found the magical place of my childhood in ruins. I remember thinking how sad it was that my descendants would never get to appreciate the stark beauty of the desert I cherished as a child. It was in that moment that I decided to fight to protect our environment.

Throughout my career, I fought to protect my home and my country from the permanent damage of climate change. I thought about the world you would live in, the burdens you would face and the health issues that could one day challenge your very existence. You deserve —> Read More

COP21: Humanity’s Last-Chance Saloon

COP21 is not just about the weather; it is a unique opportunity for the world’s leaders to address global inequity.

It is an opportunity for powerful people and nations to acknowledge that their environmental wellbeing, their security and sustainability, is dependent on the wellbeing, security and sustainability of others.

The days of not understanding the disastrous human and environmental consequences of rampant consumptiveness and greed are gone. Our leaders can no longer claim not to know. If they don’t take action, they will be saying very clearly that they don’t care.

Should they grasp the opportunity, and develop a legally binding treaty to mitigate climate change, it will signal the end of the age of reckless consumption, exploitation and greed.

Failing to grasp the nettle will send a direct message of contempt to poorer nations and people, who cannot afford the costs of mitigating the impacts of increasing temperatures. It will trigger unprecedented economic and refugee crises, and dramatically deepen global insecurity.

It’s a simple equation, really. Agree on mechanisms to enforce adherence to environmental justice, or consciously embrace injustice and add fuel to the fire of human division and pain.

The science is clear. Reduce carbon emissions to limit the extent of global warming. The only way we can do this is by reducing our dependency on carbon fuels.

That is why we support the campaign to divest from fossil fuels and invest in sustainable technologies. Continuing to spend Trillions of Dollars searching for new oil, gas and coal reserves we will never be able to use is a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom.

And that is why we say: Global warming is the human-rights challenge of our time. If we do not address it, collectively, it can only mean we have decided that the rights of some members of the human family are more important than others.

A —> Read More

Climate Neutrality In Sight In Denmark

The 76,000 citizens of the little-known Danish municipality Sonderborg act, while politicians’ talk and climate change is accelerating. They share the vision of ProjectZero, and have committed themselves to making Sonderborg climate neutral by 2029.

Sonderborg is a picturesque municipality close to the water and the German border, and it wants to prove that climate neutrality is achievable when cities take decisive action and ensure citizens and companies participate in finding new solutions and retrofitting society’s energy generation and consumption.

The ProjectZero visionary project is focused on transitioning Sonderborg into a ZEROcarbon community, based on sustainable growth and creating new green jobs. Energy efficiency and energy from the area’s own renewable sources are the key means to making the vision a reality. New thinking is essential and public policy and investments fuel the transition. A key part of the municipality’s homes are now heated by green district heating based on solar, heat pumps, biofuel and geothermal energy extracted from the ground. A massive investment in wind energy is currently underway.

The impact on local communities has been significant. The municipality has already achieved a 30% reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions since 2007; Sonderborg has proven it is doable. So what is the recipe?

Participation and local networks are crucial. Note that 93% of the citizens know of ProjectZero, and more than 100 families have become ZEROfamilies learning how to save energy. The results are impressive with an average family using 25% less energy and consuming 45% less water.

The energy+ house inspires local residents

In 2009, a unique house was built in Sonderborg. A home that produces more energy than the family that lives in it consumes in their everyday life. The energy+ house is based on a combination of energy-efficient insulation, solar energy, a geothermal heat pump and an ultramodern —> Read More

Climate Change Through an Arctic Lens

Iceland’s geographic position in the Arctic region and our outlook on climate change are intertwined and inseparable. Nowhere else on the planet are the effects of climate change as visible as in the Arctic region. Temperatures in the Arctic are rising twice as fast as the world average and the effects of climate change in the Arctic during a 10-year period are equal to those of 25 years in other regions of the Earth. These are real challenges. The effects have a global reach and global solutions are required. The solutions are known and it is now our responsibility to carry them onward to realization. COP21 in Paris brings us a unique opportunity, here and now, to bring about a bold blueprint for the future. For us in the Arctic, the stakes are high, since our environment and our very livelihood is at stake.

Iceland is the only country in the northern hemisphere that is fully within the Arctic region. Reykjavík is the northernmost capital in the world. Our economy relies to a large extent on the interplay between man and nature and continued sustainable use of natural resources. In fact, few countries have greater stakes than Iceland in the international community finding a balance between exploitation and conservation.

Two decades after the Kyoto Protocol, the global energy mix has still not changed. Fossil fuels make up 81% of the energy supply and renewable energy only accounts for 13.5%. This needs to change. Continued fossil fuel dependency cannot be our inheritance to future generations. A recent IMF report raises critical questions in this respect. According to the study, direct subsidies world-wide toward the oil and gas industry amount to a staggering 333 billion USD annually. If these subsidies would be phased out global carbon emissions could be —> Read More

1 2 3 4,779