Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Grassroots Approach

When dealing with a monumental issue, such as global warming, people have a tendency to throw up their hands and say, "Let the government deal with it!" In our current situation, however, where the U.S. government leadership is more interested in maintaining the status quo and finding inventive ways to pretend that global warming is a delusional myth, lasting change originates from the grassroots. The top-down approach isn't working. All the more reason to embrace the bottom-up approach.

This article from the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, People look for ways to cut their carbon footprint, highlights the ways in which people concerned with the global warming problem confront it in highly personal ways.

A brief excerpt from this excellent article by Meg McConahey:

"We're not activists. Just two Santa Rosa parents raising two kids. We didn't ever march in anything," said Lisa Ormond, 44, who also was inspired to go on a low-carbon diet after winning tickets to "An Inconvenient Truth" from a local radio station.

Small steps add up

She began bicycling at least two days a week from her subdivision in Bennett Valley to her marketing job at Santa Rosa Junior College. She car pools with girlfriends to soccer games. Husband Randal, an electrical engineer at Alcatel-Lucent, now incorporates most family errands into his commute home from Petaluma rather than making separate trips. She and her son biked together to an after-school class - all dramatic lifestyle changes made in a single year.

"It started a whole avalanche of alternative thinking about some of these issues," Ormond said, from weighing the economic feasibility of getting solar panels to swapping their Honda for an electric car. "These are little ways I know I'm not putting carbon in the air."

In March, the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy called the shift in public opinion a "sea change." It found 83 percent of Americans now believe global warming is a serious problem, and 75 percent of them believe their own behavior can have an impact on climate change. And about 81 percent said it's their responsibility to alter their energy-wasting behavior.

As the article emphasizes: small steps add up...