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I belong to the Boomer Generation. I was born in 1947. I’m embarrassed to admit that my generation has been at the political and economic wheel during the worst decades of human-made environmental degradation ever witnessed on planet Earth – rising carbon emissions leading to global warming, acidification of the oceans, large-scale deforestation, climate change, pollution of our air, the misuse of fresh drinking water, persistent droughts, ongoing wildfires, disappearance of coral reefs, the methane time-bomb, ice melts of the Arctic and Antarctic.

The following video presents a sobering picture of the challenge that we face as a civilization. How could we have let this happen I often wonder?

The Biggest Challenge

Published on Sep 12, 2012
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(A musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov. “Our Biggest Challenge” is the 16th episode of the Symphony of Science series by melodysheep.)

The overriding message of this video is:

The evidence is clear. The globe is getting too warm. We can avoid climate CATASTROPHES. We can change the world. We can do this.”

But we are not doing it. Regretfully, we are badly failing at coming to terms with climate reality. Recent studies show that the world is warming up faster than we thought. Global warming has been hugely underestimated. And yet, we continue to dawdle, wait, put off. We procrastinate! So, the next generation is left to tackle climate change because we won’t.

“You have been negotiating all my life,” said Anjali Appadurai (then a 21 year-old college student from Canada) at the 2011 United Nations climate conference in Durban, South Africa. Naomi Klein points out in This Changes Everything that the world’s governments have been talking about preventing climate change for two decades with negotiations starting the year that Anjali was born.

This Intergovernmental body (UN) entrusted to prevent “dangerous levels” of climate change has not only failed to make progress over its twenty-odd years of work (and more than ninety official negotiation meetings since the agreement was adopted). it has overseen a process of virtually uninterrupted backsliding.

Next Generation Left to Tackle Climate Change

Why? Why Not? In every language on the planet, children ask these questions. They ask the first to understand the world around them, and they ask the second when they want to change that world.

The Next Generation, boomer warrior

When it comes to our climate, the next generation is asking critical questions over and over and over. But our leadership is not listening.

Why do we rely on fossil fuels that create so much carbon pollution and cause so much devastation? Why do oil and gas companies get to decide what kind of air we breathe or what kind of future our children inherit?

Why not switch to renewables like solar and wind that can power our economy reliably and cheaply? Why not act now while we can still avoid the worst impacts of climate change?

Why are we only concerned about the cost of extreme climate? Why not the cause?

“Why not act on climate change?”


“Why not act on climate change?”
Published on Sep 22, 2014
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There are over 85 million boomers in North America alone and millions more in Australia and New Zealand. And around the world, there are hundreds of millions of people in this demographic group  of 50-70 years of age who have or are starting to have grandchildren.

Millions of us wonder every day how our grandchildren will survive. Will they survive? Or are they doomed to suffer the repercussions of bad choices we’ve made? The covenant has always been to leave the world a little better than you found it. We have failed them. It will now be up to the next generation to correct our wrongs.

My generation is not putting out the fire. We prefer to look away.

We’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change and the last generation that can do something about it.”  Governor Jay Inslee


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19 COMMENTS

  1. Two comments and a question for you, Rolly:
    First, as always, thanks for your ongoing advocacy … persistence in the face of all this bad news is most admirable. Naomi Klein certainly makes our task out to be most formidable.
    Second, I’m pretty sure that Angali Appadurai was only 18 years-old as a College of the Atlantic student speaking to the 2011 climate conference … even more remarkable. The College is part of the United World Colleges network that takes Grade 11 and 12 students from all over the globe for a two year International Baccalaureate Program.
    Finally, my question: who is Governor Jay Inslee and what was the context of his comment?

    Many thanks,

    Grant

  2. since unfortunately “the next generation”/youth don’t have “the voice” we can and have to be the voice now…….we may not stop all the destruction of climate change/environmental destruction, but we owe them a chance….otherwise we are setting the next generation to a horrendous burden…..

    If we act and are wrong, the only thing we will get is cleaner water, air, food, land……..if we don’t act and are wrong we will see potential great destruction and loss of quality and quantity of lives….

    there is no alternate planet for life, save earth….for the future.

    • Hello Dave – I agree with your observations completely. Our generation has a moral duty to leave the planet no worse off that when we arrived. That has always been the covenant. But that will not happen. We have failed our children and grandchildren, a burden we will bring to our grave I’m sad to say.

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Rolly,

    I hope you will post this on care2 (where I first was connected with this site), the combination of videos are very powerful…………and should be shared and spread around the globe…..

    unfortunately, the answer the question of “Why not now?” has several answers none of which is acceptable, but they have been effective….

  4. “Climate change presents us with a fundamental choice. Will we watch passively as our climate and our civilization collapse in the coming decades? Will we consign young people and future generations to lives of hunger, thirst, and violent conflict over dwindling natural resources? Or will we mobilize our entire society and economy to save civilization at wartime speed?” from ‘Rising to the Challenge of Our Time, Together’ by Margaret Klein and Ezra Silk
    http://www.theclimatemobilization.org/rising_to_the_challenge_of_our_time_together

    • Michelle – that’s good material. Just last week, I Skyped with Ezra Silk about the possibility of doing a Canadian Climate Mobilization project. The Climate Mobilization team is looking to internationalize the project. It’s a huge amount of work. I’m not sure if I have the time and energy for something that demanding – still considering my options.

      Thanks for your comments.

  5. Sadly, the UK government is talking about backtracking on it’s “Climate Change” Policy, as Britain is facing the prospect of ‘black-outs’ during the winter months, based on current energy demands by industry and households (they insist).

    We need populations everywhere to understand that they must reduce energy usage, or we are seriously doomed.

    This Christmas… Do we really need Christmas lights everywhere that light up the planet…it doubles energy use in towns, confuses wildlife, and is about as immoral as we can get in our pursuit of ‘the dream!’

    Until everyday people cut their demand for power, and find alternate (manpowered) ways to do their daily tasks, our governments will not take steps to prevent using even more fossil fuels to meet those demands!

  6. Colette – yesterday I attended an all-day meeting of the Climate Action Network (CAN) which is an international organization with branches in various countries. CAN is an umbrella for various other associations like 350.org, Sierra Club, etc. After a full day immersed in climate change reality, I spent quite a depressing evening. We the public are just not getting this. What we have here is a very very serious problem and yet for the most part people remain disinterested and indifferent.

    It is so frustrating and discouraging.

  7. Yes, it is a bit discouraging…I just don’t understand why the media aren’t shouting our dilemma from the rooftops… Unless people see the reality of global warming as promogulated by the evening “news” (usually through the medium of TV), they just think it goes away. This is going to bite us in the bum and explaining it to the “kids” after the fact should leave us very “red-faced” indeed!

    Adults have a duty of care to inform all children everywhere, exactly what we are doing to the planet!

    Here are some websites for explaing climate-change to the next generation:

    http://tiki.oneworld.net/global_warming/climate_home.html

    http://www.epa.gov/climatestudents/

    http://www.eschooltoday.com/climate-change/Introduction-to-climate-change-for-children.html

    http://www.climatechoices.org.uk/

    http://www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/SEM2OXXTVKG_Earth_0.html

    http://www.ecokids.ca/pub/eco_info/topics/climate/intro/index.cfm

    I’m sure there are other web sites too… If we can get teachers to involve children in “energy-saving” projects, perhaps they, in turn will teach their parents!

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