Saturday, June 21, 2008

Roanoke College

"How many people think climate change is a serious problem?" i ask the class of Roanoke College students. Perhaps 2/3rds of the students lazily raise their hands.

"So what are we going to do about climate change? If it is a serious problem how are we going to stop it?" i challenge and start taking down their answers on the board.

"Wind power", "Solar", "Conservation", "Nuclear power", "Saving energy", "Geothermal power", "Tidal energy", "Increased efficiency" - They shouted out with increasing enthusiasm.

"So this is great. Basically we are talking two general types of solutions. Clean power generation and saving energy or using it more efficiently. I do a bunch of work on energy - best guesses are these two approaches will net perhaps 20% reductions each. So we are talking carbon levels by 40%. Except the UN commission on climate change says we have to reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. So where it is going to come from? is humanity doomed ?"

An uncomfortable silence fills the room.

"Well there is a very powerful technique which could save us. It is a concept we learned in kindergarden. It's called ..." pause for dramatic effect. "Sharing".

Strange look in students eyes, "what is he talking about?"

And i launch into my rap about sharing system at Twin Oaks. How we share cars and thus consumer over 80% less fuel than our mainstream counter parts. Now some kids are waking up. The professor is clealry in love with us.

And my heart as a propagandist sings.


Museice said...

Interesting question...
I would like to know how many of those students would answer the question, "Is climate change man made?".

Joanna said...

I should give you one of my "80 by 2050" posters.

Angie said...

The professor was clearly in love with us, and also clearly at a loss for what to do with us. My favorite part was the drink after class with the fascinating (very pretty) girl doing amazing and challenging and important work. She gives me hope for my generation, for my peers who are all too often apathetic and disgruntled, worried only about the next new video game system or episode of "Lost". Maybe they aren't my peers after all, merely bored kids who share my chronological age, and little else.

I am more of a pessimist than you. i think 2 months from now most of those kids will just think of us as "those hippies from that commune who did that polyamory thing."

But the reason i keep doing this, is that i hope one, or if we were very good, two of them will remember. And the word will spread.


Unknown said...

I've given years of thought on what to do about our climate. Recently, I watched a YouTube video, the 'Happiness Machine'; confirming my knowledge about the decades of brain washing humans have undergone.

Brain washing has turned the human race into 'feel good machines'. We keep trying to fill up on products we are told will make us feel good about ourselves. Empty calories for a hungry world!

I've stopped filling myself with 'empty calories' (things I don't need); I fill up on trips to the natural world; which keeps me renewing and rejoicing in my connection to a greater purpose: accepting my responsibility as a steward to animals, humans and the planet. No small job!

We can not wait for government or industry to do this job. They won't. It is contrary to their interest.

Be tenacious! If enough of us stop being a link in the 'feel good machine'. Take a walk on the wild side: accept personal responsibility for stewardship of life: our 'feel good' will be nutritious, fascinating, invigorating and fun!

"I like my life just fine" - Bruce Cockburn