Why stop the optimism?
This is a response to the “Happy anniversary, time for an optimism break” item introducing the refreshing articles celebrating local people who make the world a better place (Re: “24th anniversary issue,” News, Jan 25. 2018). In the introduction, Joel Dyer writes, “So for this week, this one short week, let’s all be optimists. Let’s take a few days to thank those who make our lives a little better whenever and wherever we see them. Let’s take all that energy we are using to rage against the current state of politics and direct it instead toward those among us who could use a helping hand.”
Well, I say why stop at a week? Let’s take all that energy and keep it focused on what we want (instead of what we don’t want). It is said that what we resist persists, and that worrying is like praying for what you don’t want. When we direct our energy at something, we power it, so let us direct our compassionate hearts and minds carefully.
Fixing climate change for free
(Re: “Xcel reveals lowest renewable energy bids to date,” News, Feb. 1, 2018): This is, indeed, a game-changer. Last year, the World Economic Forum announced that in much of the world, including the United States, for the first time, solar and wind energy had become cheaper than any fossil fuel. Now that statement includes the cost of energy storage. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that as fast as clean energy is now being installed, global warming is still moving faster. Every year, we pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, which add on to what’s already up there. Those gases don’t dissipate; they’ll be up there for millennia. And what we put up there today will take about 50 years to heat up, further increasing global temperatures even if we could stop all global GHG emissions today. So things are going to get worse and stay that way for a very long time.
The worldwide scientific community has made it clear that we’ve just about run out of time to prevent “catastrophic” global warming, which would lead to “global economic collapse” followed by “societal collapse” (National Academy of Sciences/IPCC). We’ve got until about the end of the next decade to make a global transition to clean energy. We’re way behind schedule and we need national legislation that will have a global impact.
Now, back to the good news: We have a proven, bi-partisan economic solution to climate change: We can tax fossil fuels out of existence and give all that tax money to the taxpayers, increasing our GDP $75-80 billion annually (citizenscliamtelobby.org) and creating over 5 million good-paying, local, permanent (40-year) jobs, over 70,000 of them in Colorado (Google: Stanford University’s “Solutions Project 50 states”).
This policy, “carbon fee-and-dividend,” has worked as promised in British Columbia for nearly a decade, lowering taxes and energy bills and creating zero emissions there and the fastest-growing economy in Canada (The Economist). It has a whopping 83 percent public approval rating there (World Bank).
All fossil fuel corporations pay an annually increasing carbon pollution fee, and every taxpayer gets that tax money in equal “dividend” checks every month. Use that ever-increasing “dividend” to buy cheaper clean energy and, as solar and wind energy keep falling exponentially in price until they’re nearly free (Scientific American), you make more money every year.
More importantly, this policy can have a swift global domino effect, using market forces to make other nations cut their emissions as fast as we do. See the volunteer Citizens Climate Lobby website to see more about how this works and how we can make it happen here.
Let’s stop hunger
Thanks for an “optimism break” full of inspiring stories (Re: “24th anniversary issue,” News, Jan 25. 2018). I particularly like the story called “With, Not for” about community members helping those with greater challenges. It reminds me we can all do something to help. For example, one in five children live in poverty, so let’s ask our representatives in Congress not to cut safety net programs like SNAP that helps working families get enough to eat. At the same time, let’s ask them to get at the causes of hunger and poverty in the world’s richest country. We can ask them why are there 5.3 million Americans living on less than $4 a day? Inspiration and common decency demands that we work to change this. A five-minute phone call can help get the ball rolling on change. Quick, before the inspiration is gone!
Willie Dickerson/via internet