She kneels there on the shore,
sunlight casting shadows
on her shoulders. Crying
in the weeds—a plover.
She hearkens to time dressed
in a faded jacket
announcing two hundred
more species extinct
today and today and
today and today and
hey! toss her a cowboy hat
and another barrel of oil.
She can climb on and whip it like Fat Boy.
Nan Lundeen is the author of 3 books of poetry and Moo of Writing. Visit her at nanlundeen.com.
On Winter Solstice when Her sylvan hand reaches once again for the wheel, awakening the sun from his deepest sleep, my thoughts fall upon the seasons. In Genesis, God invites Noah to come down from the ark that carried him through the flood and promises:
As long as the earth endures,
seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat,
summer and winter,
day and night
will never cease.
Yet, every new United Nations report on climate crisis is more dire than the last. Seedtime and harvest are threatened as is the delicate balance of Earth’s seasons.
Those who subscribe to biblical pronouncements may believe that God put humans in charge of Earth’s care. I readily relate to the Native American chant: The Earth is our Mother; we must take care of her.
That means not abandoning hope kneeling there on the sand because without her we are truly lost.
There’s nothing like action to keep hope alive.
Nowadays, I struggle to read as much positive climate news as my news accounts can muster, gleaning nuggets of hope here and there. I keep thinking, too little, too late. But one Sunday, a member in my Unitarian Universalist Fellowship stood up and announced that she is helping to organize a Citizens Climate Lobby chapter in our small town of St. Joseph, MI, with the help of a parent chapter in Kalamazoo.
My ears perked up. I remembered having read about CCL’s bipartisan approach to national climate legislation. What the world needs now is nations and huge businesses and organizations to act. This despite the disheartening failure at the Madrid Climate Summit this month of developed nations to commit to stronger action against global warming which already is displacing millions of people.
CCL has 561 chapters internationally from Australia to Zimbabwe. The organization works to build consensus, not fight partisan battles that drag us closer to despair. Working together, we can create change for the better.Writing of the U.S. on its website, CCL states: “By focusing on shared values rather than partisan divides, we build relationships with community leaders and with federal elected officials and with Congress, always starting from a place of respect, gratitude, and appreciation.”
The organization was instrumental in forming the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus in the U.S. House in 2016. This year, one also formed in the Senate.
In the U.S., the climate lobby’s Starship Enterprise is H.R. 763, The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019. It would put a fee on fossil fuels that would be returned to the American people.
Columbia University recently released an assessment of the act. The report concludes:
- The policy would cut net greenhouse emissions 36 to 38 percent by 2030 (from 2005), beyond the amount the U.S. agreed to in the Paris Climate Accord, which President Donald Trump has abandoned.
- Reduce sulfur and mercury emissions by 95 percent and smog-forming emissions by 75 percent, thus improving public health.
- Electric power generation would shift to low- and zero-carbon sources.
- The carbon dividends would cushion higher energy costs for consumers with low- and middle-income households receiving more in dividends than they pay in higher costs.
0n Jan. 17, The Wall Street Journal published a statement signed by 3,558 U.S. economists, including 27 Nobel Laureate economists and all four former chairs of the Federal Reserve. It states: “A carbon tax offers the most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed that is necessary.” All the revenue should be returned to American families as rebates, the economists wrote.
While not a magical cure, a carbon tax is a step toward addressing climate change that would harness market forces to help make life on our planet more sustainable.
CCL volunteers commit to educating themselves and working in a bipartisan manner. They lobby Congress often by phone, email and tweets.
We cannot forsake hope on the shoreline. We can lobby Congress even as we protest in the streets. We can teach our children how to respect Earth. We can alter our lifestyles, and we can work for and vote for politicians committed to a greener future. Whichever path we each decide to take, action offers protection from despair.
Blessed be at Winter Solstice and evermore,