State of the Planet Address

“Human activities are at the root of our descent toward chaos. But that means human action can help solve it.

“Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century. It must be the top, top priority for everyone, everywhere.”

U.N. Secretary-General of the United Nations, speaking last night at Columbia University.

A colleague inboxed me this talk in the wee hours, and I happened to be awake, so I stayed up til 5 watching it. Fifty minutes very well spent, and that is saying a lot from a person who doesn’t like watching much video. (Includes worthwhile introductory remarks before; and worthwhile Q&A from students after.)

Please, please take time to watch this today, or as soon as you possibly can. Thank you. And share with everyone you can. Thank you again. Remember we are all in this together.

A friend who I phone-texted this to just now just commented, “We just seem hell bent on overindulging and fouling our own nest. There’s a desperation in the over consumption that is sad beyond words. How disconnected are we from each other and the daily tasks that could be done with attention and focus, making us less desperate and unhappy. I guess it comes down to a redefinition of happiness. Its not found in status and things but rather found in mindfulness. My two cents worth.”

And I wrote back, “YES. Your two cents is gold. And this is why I get up in the morning, this is my life mission. Every gig I do feeds into this.”

Making peace with nature, working with nature, radically reducing the footprint of human activities. This essential speech outlines our grave situation, but also offers great hope; outlines initiatives in progress; gives actionable suggestions for individuals as well as institutions.

Further Reading:

CDC: Don’t Travel for Winter Holidays Either (USA Today article in Daytona Beach News-Journal): CDC caution against Thanksgiving travel (which many people disregarded) is repeated for Christmas/winter holidays. The public-health recommendation can help take the emotional angst out of choosing to stay put. (Sometimes making the choice for purely environmental reasons can feel harsh, especially for those of us who would otherwise be very seriously tempted to travel to the ends of the earth to be with our families, carbon footprint be darned.)

The Climate Debt the U.S. Owes the World (Bill McKibben; The New Yorker): “… we can’t meet our moral and practical burdens simply by reducing our own emissions; we’ve already put so much carbon into the air (and hence reduced the space that should rightly go to others) that we need to make amends.”