Don’t sit this one out.
We hear a lot these days about the sad shape the world is in, but there are good reasons to be hopeful too. We have seen what happens when enough good-hearted people make up their minds to collaborate on a big problem or opportunity.
This month the leaders of 150 nations are meeting in Paris to see if they can summon the collective will to avert what is probably the worst problem our world has ever faced: Global Warming.
Here’s the problem in a nutshell . . .
On the one hand we have enough dirty fossil fuels to power the planet for another 50 to 100 years. But if we use them, the temperature of the earth will rise by another 4-6 degrees, triggering unimaginable global consequences.
On the other hand, we have enough clean renewable energy (solar, wind, tidal, etc.) to efficiently power the planet for literally thousands of years. But we have to quickly ramp up our ability to access this clean energy and make it available to 8 billion people worldwide. That’s a tall order. Can we do it? We can, if we will.
I believe that the same creativity that twisted a piece of wire into a paperclip or formed a piece of glass into a computer chip can resolve virtually any issue the world faces right now, including global warming—if we will only set it free. Simple greed, indifference and disbelief are the only things that stand in the way. That is all: greed, indifference and disbelief.
And now an extraordinary moment in Paris . . .
One of my heroes is Buckminster Fuller. Bucky used to say that humanity has finally come to that extraordinary moment when it doesn’t have to be you or me. The challenge now is to make the world safe and prosperous for 100% of humanity—and each of us is called to support this immediate challenge in whatever way we can, large or small.
Just before he died, American astrophysicist Carl Sagan wrote a series of loving reminders to humanity. As we await the results of this month’s hopeful climate showdown in Paris, one of Sagan’s final pleas should have special meaning for all of us:
“You are, by accident of fate, alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something.”