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Humanity’s concern for the environment and for global warming goes back at least three decades. In 1988 some world leaders identified global warming as their biggest concern. Margaret Thatcher referred to herself as a green prime minister. George H.W. Bush said he would be “an environmental president” if elected. Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney appointed a Minister of the Environment who said that “global warming…threatens the survival of our species.”

We Have A Climate Crisis On This Planet, Below2C

Climatologists attending a climate conference in Toronto issued a press release “declaring that global warming represented a threat to human survival, second only to nuclear war, and called for a 20 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 1988 levels in fifteen years,” writes David Suzuki in the introduction of the revised edition of The Sacred Balance, Rediscovering Our Place in Nature.

We were becoming aware of a new planetary crisis. A climate crisis was looming. Surely we would take immediate steps to address this challenge.

Dr. Luis Contreras is a new contributor to Below2ºC. We are pleased to welcome him and feature this first article.

We are the air, we are the water, we are the soil, we are the Sun. – David Takayoshi Suzuki

We are lost in the middle of a chaotic world, explains Dr. David Suzuki, a brilliant environmental activist, Canada’s “science guy.” In his breakthrough book, The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, Suzuki explains how humans evolved from naked apes to highly dangerous animals pretending to be masters of the universe. Human DNA is similar to dogs, cats, and all other mammals. But humans kill for revenge, greed, or pleasure, the only trophy hunters in the animal kingdom.

In the beginning, a small number of homo sapiens lived amongst faster and larger animals with small brains. Humans learned to talk and were curious and creative. Playing with rocks they discovered fire and started burning trees. They killed whales to light lanterns and found oil-making holes in the ground. To extract more oil Americans started fracking, polluting the air and water even more. Fracking was supposed to make big profits, but the real cost of a barrel is higher than the price it brings. Americans’ taxes subsidize fracking while the budget deficit skyrockets.

Forests and wetlands are easy targets. Most of the old growth forests have been destroyed, and logging has gone wild to fill campaign promises and pay back generous contributions.

Planetary crisis

A Yale University survey shows more than 70 percent of Americans agree we must limit global warming. The climate emergency is real, but the chaos is larger than the climate disruption. New research shows the frequency and severity of heat waves will get worse. Sea level rise, extreme weather events, drought, crop failure, and water scarcity are driving countries to stop the flow of climate refugees. Poor islands and developing nations are seen as collateral damage.

Inaction is a criminal response

There are two main forces driving inaction. Air, water, and soil are sacred gifts of nature. But frackers, miners, loggers, and land developers see the sacred as inconvenient externalities. The GOP mindset is all about money. Our priceless sacred gifts of nature are seen as worthless because no money is involved.

The goal is clear, but people are easily distracted by daily events and short-term rewards. The 24/7 media and twitter-man keep Americans glued to the TV and silent, with no time to think, read, or act.

Fear, greed, and hate are unspoken reasons for inaction. We are facing an ethical crisis where future generations are helpless victims. [a recent post explores fear as a motivator]

Nature knows best

Nature is full of surprises and discoveries are waiting to be found. The inventor of DDT got a Nobel Prize before Rachel Carson found the cumulative effect was killing bald eagles. After banning the use of DDT for decades, the Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William and Mary found 1,070 occupied bald eagle nests in Virginia. Nature finds a way.

The power of NO

After 35 days our fearless leader learned a new word. In addition to meaningful incentives for electric vehicles and solar energy systems, and carbon fees and dividends to discourage emissions, we ask our Congress¹ to demand NO coal, NO fracking, NO pipelines, NO tariffs on solar panels and NO restrictions on net energy metering, NO rollback of environmental protections for coal power plants and fuel efficiency.

Climate Justice

Young Colorado plaintiffs seek a review of their fracking and climate case after Colorado Supreme Court judge’s racist comments. The lead plaintiff is Xiuhtezcatl Martinez. Laurie Booras called another judge in the case “a little Mexican.” Booras’s last day is January 31, and her hateful comments gave the plaintiffs one more chance.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals gave the Trump administration until Feb. 1 to file its opening brief in its attempt to short circuit the landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. the United States.

Climate crisis is Code Blue

With a firm commitment and funds, we stand a chance to limit warming to 1.5˚C and avoid a catastrophic 2˚C. The planetary crisis requires immediate attention. Every day wasted lowers our chances of survival and increases the threat.

Time is not on our side.

This Opinion piece by Dr. Luis Contreras was first published in the ES independent.

The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature
David Suzuki, Second edition, 2007.
Suzuki explores human society’s impact on the natural world for the planet and the people living on it.

Monarchs coming back to Mexico’s sanctuaries in 2019

Silent Spring
Rachel Carson, 1962
Unintended consequences of chemical products. Detrimental effects of chemical pesticides on the environment, and on humanity.

Emily Benson, Bioaccumulation
Contaminants reverberating throughout the ecosystem

Trump wetlands rule rollback makes about 6 million acres in Florida unprotected

Related articles…
Limiting Beliefs Damage Our Environment, Health and Future
A World With Ten Billion People Does Not Turn Out Well

Share to raise climate awareness


    • Ed,
      Thank you for your comment. Yes, the Youth Climate Movement is unstoppable, they are ready to go all the way.

      On 2/8/19 they sent an update:
      “Attorneys for the youth plaintiffs just filed a motion for “preliminary injunction” in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, requesting a court order that would prevent the federal government from issuing new leases and mining permits for extracting coal on federal public lands, leases for offshore oil and gas exploration and extraction activities, and federal approvals for new fossil fuel infrastructure while the Ninth Circuit considers the government’s interlocutory appeal. ”

      They are soliciting signatures from young people for another filing, I will post the link. They have over 3,000 already

    • Ed,

      Here is the link to join the Youth efforts. They say,

      “We need your help! On Saturday, Zero Hour launched its nationwide #JoinJuliana campaign to help thousands of young people add their names in support of the Young People’s amicus (“friend of the court”) brief it will file in support of the 21 Juliana v. United States youth plaintiffs. We need you to help us get the word out and share it all over Facebook, retweet it on Twitter, and/or repost it on Instagram.”

      If yourself or a young person in your life would like to #JoinJuliana and add their name in support of the Juliana plaintiffs, have them visit

      I will join to have my name on this historic trial!

  1. The youth movement happening around the globe is truly amazing to watch. But the big event coming up is the Global Student Strike on March 15. As other countries join the movement, the numbers will reach into the millions. Watch for this.

    In Canada, there are currently 10-12 centres where student strikes are happening regularly. A national student strike is being organized for May 3.

  2. Greta is being heard, and the EU is responding.

    “Sixteen-year-old climate action leader Greta Thunberg stood alongside European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker Thursday in Brussels as he indicated—after weeks of climate strikes around the world inspired by the Swedish teenager—that the European Union has heard the demands of young people and pledged a quarter of $1 trillion budget over the next seven years to address the crisis of a rapidly heating planet.

    In the financial period beginning in 2021, Juncker said, the EU will devote a quarter of its budget to solving the crisis.”


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