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Posts Tagged ‘An Inconvenient Truth’

Dear Al,

You and I just met last weekend. I had traveled far in my Prius for the chance to have a few words with you, my hero. When my turn came, I made sure to let you know how grateful I was, for the presentation you gave three years ago, at Stanford, on “An Inconvenient Truth”. I told you I had come out of the event transformed and determined to help somehow with the global warming crisis. You seemed flattered, and you moved on to the person next in line, a funny guy named Dana Carvey.

You were supposed to give a political speech, but you could not stay away from your favorite topic. And you spoke at length about the need to bring about a change in consciousness, regarding the moral challenge of our time, our role in the destruction of the future of our planet. I loved listening to you, and so did the rest of the audience. You delivered your message with feeling and conviction, and we readily joined you in your outrage, down to your last word. “Damit!”

That’s all good. And that’s not enough. You see, what I took away from this time with you, was not the thrill of meeting you, nor the heartfelt speech you gave, nor the majestic scenery surrounding us. No, instead I will remember the sight of all the cars parked along the road, and filling every free parking space on the compound. Call me a party spoiler, but it bothered me that you seemed oblivious to the lack of carpooling for the event. When I brought up the subject with my neighbors at the lunch table, all expressed interest. I know this is a small detail, and you are dealing with the big picture.

I just want to raise this question with you. What if the big picture was all in the details? How different would have your message been, if you had sent a request ahead of time to all the guests, asking them to carpool? You could have carpooled yourself, rather than just driving with your daughter in her Prius.

Al, I hope you will consider. As the world leader on climate,  you bear a huge responsibility. Please do not misuse it, and realize the power of your actions, not just your words.

Respectfully,

Marguerite Manteau-Rao

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Over duck confit and sea trout, Prad and I engaged into a passionate conversation with Hong, the woman sitting next to us, at ‘Le Pied de Fouet’, one of my favorite little restaurants in the Latin Quarter. We quickly learned that Hong is involved in big carbon trading and energy deals all over the world.  Hong’s friend was listening quietly, then brought up her niece, a chemist. ‘My niece says global warming is a natural thing, and there is nothing we can do about it.‘ The chemist had been convincing enough, that Hong’s friend did not feel any urgency and took a passive stance towards climate change. ‘Have you heard of “An Inconvenient Truth”‘, Hong asked. No, her friend hadn’t, but she was willing to check it out. 

Climate deniers and their naive followers know no frontiers. The deniers are a hard bunch to reason with. Their followers, on the other hand only need to be shown the real truth, to understand.

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Tonight, I need to thank my good friend and fellow blogger Lynn Miller, from OrganicMania, for including La Marguerite in her recommended list of ‘Top Mommy Blogs‘, to Alltop. Lynn’s effort paid off, and starting now, La Marguerite will be featured on Alltop, along with all the other mommy blogs on Lynn’s list. 

Lynn’s Alltop announcement got me thinking. Moms need to have a bigger role in the climate discourse. We are talking about Mother Earth after all. The qualities that come to us as mothers, as in giving, protecting, nurturing, and sustaining life, are the same ones that are needed to remedy climate change. For we need to take care of our planet, the same way it has sustained us for thousands of years.  Even the climate narrative is imbued with motherly words. Think sustainability, climate protection,  Climate Security Act, Environmental Protection Agency, just to name a few. 

Sure there are the Eco-Moms, and the mommy bloggers, and a few token names in the environmental stratospheres. Frances Beinecke, at the helm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, Laurie David without whom An Inconvenient Truth would not have made it to the Oscars, . . . I can’t think of others right now. 

Looking back on the recent G8 Environment Summit, there were three women and twelve men. During this week’s Senate debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, 16 out of the 100 senators debating were women. When Richard Branson convened his summit, not a single woman, other than accompanying wives, was invited.  

Things are changing though. Although, I did not vote for Hillary, I did appreciate the women’s movement behind her. Women all over America are rising, and deciding that their voices need to be heard. Now I am urging these same women, and the ones behind Obama, and McCain also, to apply the same zeal to protecting the world and its children. For decades, women have gathered for book clubs and Tupperware parties, and Bible study groups. The EcoMoms idea, or something like it, needs to spread.

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Yesterday I reported on the obvious energy waste I observed on the Stanford campus. Reporting is one thing, acting is another. Today, I took upon myself to write to the Stanford Campus Energy Manager:

Hello Susan,

As a citizen of Palo Alto and frequent visitor on the Stanford campus, it has come to my attention that the University does not seem to enforce its energy conservation policy in quite a few public places. This is especially apparent during day time, when lights are being turned on at sporting events. Below is a link to a video and blog post I published yesterday in my environmental blog, reporting on my experience.

https://lamarguerite.wordpress.com/2008/03/29/theyre-oblivious/

I would appreciate hearing from you soon,

Sincerely,

Marguerite Manteau-Rao

Let’s see what Susan says.

Imagine what would happen if we all acted as stewards of the micro-worlds we live in?

 

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I have taken the plunge, and indulged in a Flip Ultra camcorder . . . Here is what I saw during my walk on the Stanford campus yesterday:

Today is also Earth Hour 2008:

On March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m., join millions of people around the world in making a statement about climate change by turning off your lights for Earth Hour, an event created by the World Wildlife Fund.

Earth Hour was created by WWF in Sydney, Australia in 2007, and in one year has grown from an event in one city to a global movement. In 2008, millions of people, businesses, governments and civic organizations in nearly 200 cities around the globe will turn out for Earth Hour. More than 100 cities across North America will participate, including the US flagships-Atlanta, Chicago, Phoenix and San Francisco and Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. View cities involved around the world.

We invite everyone throughout North America and around the world to turn off the lights for an hour starting at 8 p.m. (your own local time)-whether at home or at work, with friends and family or solo, in a big city or a small town.

What will you do when the lights are off? We have lots of ideas.

Join people all around the world in showing that you care about our planet and want to play a part in helping to fight climate change. Don’t forget to sign up and let us know you want to join Earth Hour.

One hour, America. Earth Hour. Turn out for Earth Hour!

Not only do we need to remember to turn off our lights during the night, we also need to not turn them on during the day . . .

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Last year, I wrote about Harvard professor Daniel Gilbert‘s theory regarding the psychology of global warming. I strongly recommend that you spend 15’ of your time watching these two recently released videos of him speaking at the Pop!Tech Conference:

The enemy facing us is not so much global warming itself, as our human inadequacies in dealing with the problem. The more we can be conscious of those, the greater the likelihood that we will react more appropriately, and with a greater sense of urgency.

From a practical standpoint, Gilbert‘s insights have important implications for future communication strategies about global warming. More time needs to be spent in the media, focusing on the whys of our relative inaction, and less on justifying the reality of climate change.

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On February 16th, hundreds of people gathered at Trafalgar Square, all volunteers recruited for a covert performance. At exactly 3.30 pm, on a secret cue, they all froze and held their positions for 5 minutes:

Now imagine, if the same performance took place simultaneously in strategic places all over the world, and at the end of the five minutes, all performers delivered a message about the climate fight?

Maybe the message is a request for all spectators to do one simple thing. Like walking the next time they have to travel a short distance. The real beauty of such performances is what happens next on YouTube.

During the ten days since it was first downloaded, ‘The Day London Froze‘ video has been viewed 559,ooo times, favorited 3,715 times, and commented on 2,588 times.

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