The Tar Sands? Let’s RE-create our Behavior

[This post belongs in a series of 7 entries written to build community and receive donations to support the Climate Ride, a 320 mile cycling pilgrimage I made in October, 2011.  Several entries focus on and celebrate the particular efforts of each of the 4 NGOs I designated to receive funds I raised for the ride.]

 

Happy Long Weekend!

Last Friday, I featured The East Bay Bike Coalition, a local organization doing work that’s close to my heart, in my neighborhood.  I would be remiss, this week, if I didn’t recognize 350.org, a national organization making grassroots activism an international sensation…AND whose founder,BillMcKibbenwas arrested this week while protesting the Keystone XL Tar Sands pipeline.

This week: 350.org http://www.350.org/

Their mission: 350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis.

Geek Treat:  To preserve our planet the way we like to live on it, scientists say we must reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from its current level of 392 parts per million to below 350 ppm. Using grassroots wizardry (social media) and brilliant simplicity (people & cameras), 350.org invites change at the global level.  At the end of 2010, they coordinated a climate art project so large it had to be photographed from a satellite in outer space.  WoooHOOOOOOO!

 

And now… Let’s RE-create our Behavior

 

We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

–         AlbertEinstein

Climate Change is slow and sneaky in its signs; it doesn’t register for humans with the same urgency another crisis might.  The non-profit, 350.org invites us (YOU and ME) to create educational tools and visuals to translate the brain-bending concepts into ideas that invite behavior change. Thank you, 350!

 

So are we changing our behavior?  As we head into the Labor Day weekend, I’m thinking about the word, “recreation.”  It’s what we do on weekends, right?  Especially 3-day ones, that are set-aside to honor our “labors,” and take a break, no?  And while it isn’t always true, I’m struck by how often our acts of recreation are actually creation destructive (i.e., energy-intensive electronics, resource-depleting cruise trips or golf courses).  What if the word were, “RE-Creation?”  With some creative reframing (see 350.org above), can we care for Creation through our recreation?

 

Today marks the 13th day of a 14-day sit-in at the White House to protest the Keystone Tar Sands oil pipeline.  Since it began, over 800 people have been arrested in one of the largest environmentally-focused acts of civil disobedience in U.S. history.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/22/opinion/tar-sands-and-the-carbon-numbers.html?_r=1

 

And the Tar Sands?  The Alberta, Canada Tar Sands produce over 36 million tons of carbon dioxide per day, more than 1.3 million cars. Tar sands are the 2nd largest pool of carbon on earth (Saudi Arabia’s oil takes 1st)…and one of the biggest greenhouse gas offenders.  Why?  The extraction of petroleum from tar sands creates far more greenhouse emissions than conventional production does.  Currently, Canada plans to double its tar sands production over the next decade to more than 1.8 million barrels a day – a rate that will mean cutting down some 740,000 acres of boreal forest — a natural carbon reservoir.

Invisible Man, Credit: Liu Bolin/Eli Klein Fine Art

 

To me, this is a big invitation to Re-Create and behave differently.  After all, some of the best economy-enhancing ideas we’ve had this year have been about renewable energy, green jobs and closed-loop thinking.   Tomorrow, while I’m on a training ride, getting high off the California Redwoods’ oxygen offerings, those brave, creative activists at the White House will deliver a petition asking Obama to ban this silly, uninventive pipeline idea.  If you haven’t signed yet, you have time.  Go here: http://act.350.org/sign/tar-sands/?rd=1
Thank you all so much for your support!