More to Fossil Fuel Divestment than the Dollar
Commentary by Stephanie Sakasai, VWC Board Member
Photo of flash floods in Solomon Islands in the city of Honiara. Residents were caught unprepared. To date, 21 have been confirmed dead, a number expected to rise. 12,000 people have been affected. Many are calling this one of the worst events to hit the Pacific. It has received little to no cover in mainstream media. (Photo from the Huffington Post; Devastation in Solomon Islands Illustrates the Rise of Climate Distasters article at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/trisha-kehaulani-watson/devastation-in-solomon-is_b_5101814.html Photo Credit: Cristina Rose via Facebook)
Preliminary weekly (red line), monthly (blue line) and daily (black points) averages at Mauna Loa for the last year. (Image Credit: Graph of CO2 levels measured at Mauna Loa Hawaii at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/weekly.html)
This week our climate has made history reaching a daily average of 400 Parts CO2 Per Million around the entire globe this past month of February 2014. The last times scientists believe the earth was at this CO2 level was 10 million years ago in the Miocene period. What is significant is that we have reached a phase that is largely irreversible even after we curtail emissions. Yet now more than ever we all need to take immediate action to stop it.
What does this mean for those who live in the Santa Cruz mountains? What immediate actions can we take to curtail our own environmental demise? Our redwood forests are listed as endangered and we continue to log these endangered redwoods eliminating our very own local resource for carbon sequestration. These trees protect our fish and waterways from direct heat, and silt pollution from soil erosion. Everything is synergistically connected and without the trees, the water goes away.
We are home to native species like the coho salmon and steal head trout, pacific red tail frog, spine flowers, marbled murrelets, and many more native treasures abound, yet we still have household/ commercial pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides on our local store shelves that pollute our soil and water table of vital, life sustaining nutrients that keep this diversely rich rain forest alive. When soil is barren it cannot retain water. Soil is the living skin of our planet, it helps our planet breathe, providing a medium for all life to flourish.
Whether you have a financial safety net of some sort or not, everyday in every way we can make a difference by directing our every day choices toward divesting in the consumption of toxic or petrol chemical derived products. The choices we make and share through practice are powerful. How we choose to live our lives empowers our value as we grow creating a movement of change for better health and a cleaner planet.
What we eat, how we live our every day lives, the stuff we put down our drains, use in our gardens, can empower or disempower our individual everyday divestment. The most valuable contribution we can make as human beings is simple; we can give back what we take from our planet. Through the choices we make we can either continue to give polluting producers the power, or we can take back our power sending the clear message that it is time to change this old unsustainable practice of polluting now.
When we personally commit to living green, we commit to eliminating the use of synthetic fertilizers, weed killers, household chemicals like commercial window cleaners, ammonia, bleach, synthetic or “natural” scents, commercial fabric softeners, detergents, and numerous other chemicals with phosphates, considered non-point source pollution or direct source pollution. Every dollar we spend is power where to we want to put it? It also means being conscious of how to conserve on daily individual energy use of the earths precious resources like water and natural heat through better design of our homes, commercial buildings, and city infrastructures.
Choosing locally grown organics and chemical free products and produce benefits your health by supplying your body with bio available nutrients with out adding poisonous residues that are a detriments to your long-term health adding to our chemical body burden. The true cost of food is often disguised. The carbon footprint of any item including organic foods grown somewhere else has a carbon footprint from travel. That produce or product, organic or not, took a plane to get to your local store for instance, it has a much higher true cost above what you are paying. The carbon footprint is so much higher than if it were grown or made locally therefore reducing the carbon footprint.
When we eat healthy nutrient available foods, we are able to grow intellectually as well as physically strong. The ability to retain the information we take in, in part, has to do with the level of nutrition you are able to receive from the foods you eat. Knowing how to maintain a healthy alkaline diet is as key as eating in right proportion. Our chemical body burden is limited just like our planet. Once we overload it, just like the earth, our body goes into chaos, also known as an acidic body PH, “fight or flight states” result on physical and physiological levels. Taking the time to choose to eat for peek energy simply means eating more raw fruits and vegetables, get your vitamins from food and herbs.
The other really powerful benefit is that by choosing a chemical free sustainable life style we are protecting our future water source. By saving our trees we save our river habitat which protects the fish and aquatic species that bring life to our local eco-systems. Our living watershed our can benefit from carbon sequestration during weather extremes and so can we. We can catch the rain when it rains and use it in times of drought, we can change the way we look at the value of water. Perhaps the future means water is more valuable to drink than to flush, are we prepared to educate and implement the integration of composting toilets as well as grey water systems?
When we view our parks as natural preserves for carbon sequestration and native species preservation we can begin to see the real value of sustaining local parks, preserves, and protected wild lands. This June we have the power to collectively support our parks by voting yes for measure F (learn more here make link) continuing the local property tax supporting the maintenance of our local parks with a $2.00 increase from $6 to $8.
Now more than ever it is time to do what we can to reduce our individual consumption. Even things like data in a “cloud” take huge amounts of continuos electricity to maintain. Data storage has become the new global power drain consuming vast amounts of electricity. It is ironic that technology has been largely run on unsustainable environmentally destructive practices to this day. There is hope in change and technology is getting on the bandwagon of renewable sustainable energy as there is no other choice. That being said, much more needs to be done to transform into a 100% sustainable technology.
While we are local in action, we are also a part of the global human shift toward sustainability. It will take all of us to maintain a habitable planet. It will take all of us to make dirt and plant native trees, mandate permeable surfaces to allow the rain to permeate to the water table (our fresh water resources), and to design, develop and manufacture ecologically beneficial technology in order to transform into a 100% renewable sustainable and peaceful global civil society. We owe this to our children and our children’s children.
There are so many ways to get involved socially. Here are a few bullet points:
◆ You can take part in the GMO movement and demand that it is our right to know what is in our food, and how it is grown or modified.
◆ Reaching out to community is another huge part of being prepared, be a part of your community preparedness programs to help with weather extremes and human impact.
◆ Get to know our watershed and our neighbors, learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies together. These are just a few ways in which we can all make a difference to improve our local environment for people and planet.
◆ From the outdoor compost pit to the urban worm bin we are making living food for life, protecting the soil and creating a moisture barrier (retaining water in the ground). This is called mulching up or making top dirt. We need to be making dirt in every natural way possible, as the rate of soil depletion is far more noticeable today than ever before.
◆ Giving back to the soil what it gives to us is a critical part of the natural process of sustainability. Think about this when you are planning and designing your home or driveway. Find out what kinds of permeable surfaces are right for your geological area.
In conclusion, we have the power to make a difference and now is the time to utilize our power as human beings. We can actually save each other by saving the planet that sustains us. Imagine if we all had one goal to take back the power of humanity, all 100% of us. Imagine a cease and desist order to stop the massive cycle of unsustainable destructive practices that enslave the human conscious with disempowerment. Let us begin this conversation for a better tomorrow.