I’m Marching for iMatter (http://imattermarch.org/about-us/)

I support the iMatter March Sunday, May 15th, 1 – 3, Libbey Park, Ojai. http://imattermarch.org/march/location/ojai-ca/

I saw iMatter campaigner Alec Loorz speak two years ago at Ventura’s Wild & Scenic Film Festival. He was urging reduction in use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions and he isn’t letting up. http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2011/05/generation_climate_game.html.

My motivation to march was upped a notch on hearing that sea level will be five (5) feet instead of three (3) feet higher as a result of already released greenhouse gases. We’ve been working since 2004 towards carbon neutrality in our lives and business preferring conservation and clean energy production rather than buying offsets and we’re just not there yet. More learning about the interwoven feedback loops accelerating global warming has really got our attention. Alec and friends organized the SLAP, Sea Level Awareness Project, installing posts at the beach showing where sea level will be with each degree of warming. He wrote the Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuel http://www.acespace.org/declaration/see-full-petition that was signed by 30,000 youth and presented last November on Capitol Hill. Wow, Alec, how can we help?

In a just released book, Hot, Living Through the Next 50 Years on Earth, investigative journalist Mark Hertsgaard calls today’s children Generation Hot. He believes that thousands will bravely arise, better late than never, like Dorothy questing for the Wicked Witch’s broomstick and Harry Potter confronting and defeating his parent’s murderer, ordinary heroes inspiring the transition to a low carbon society. Reporting from around the world, he cries out for his five year old Chiara who will have to live through this, and, when she is his age, the temperatures may still not have stopped rising.

Considering these issues in a positive, practical and principled moral overview is a four-page statement by the Baha’i International Community entitled Seizing the Opportunity: Redefining the challenge of climate change. The education of children and youth is surprisingly the initial focal point. Best they learn to think in terms of systems, processes and relationships, it states, rather than in terms of isolated disciplines. Also teach them the skills for action, it says, through public service projects and working in groups, such as the iMatter youth are doing.

The focus of the statement shifts to the level of community with an emphasis on greater participation of women with men in how to mitigate and adapt. Women are usually the ones getting food, water and some way to cook and stay warm; also, women are more vulnerable than men to natural disasters. Therefore, it encourages women to be heard at the consulting table.

The statement also urges people of faith to raise their voices sharing a scriptural basis for ethical action and leading national and international efforts. That said, Baha’is call for an end to the dichotomy between religion and science. “The methods of science facilitate a more objective and systematic approach to problem solving while religion concerns itself with those moral inclinations that motivate action for the common good.”

The last focal point in the statement’s considerations is on the responsibility of governments, where Alec’s attention is focused. The Baha’i International Community calls on governments to build a new global climate change agreement that suitably addresses the scope of the problem and meets the needs of the most vulnerable societies. This global agreement will define the infrastructure for how to distribute resources and accelerate innovation towards a low-carbon society. Developed nations will agree to reduce emissions and developing nations will agree to the transition to “cleaner development pathways”. The Baha’i International Community envisions the climate change crisis ushering in “a new paradigm by means of which we can understand our purpose and responsibilities in an interconnected world; a new standard by which to evaluate human progress; and a mode of governance faithful to the ties that bind us as members of one human race.”

The iMatter campaign fulfills the optimism of Mark Hertsgaard and the advice from the Baha’i International Community. Youth translating their awareness into action, potentially heroic action, to educate, if not end the squandering of the ruling generation. They are suing the government for inter-generational injustice, telling elected officials to get a lot more fired up and really do what needs to be done now. I matter. I have value. I have dignity. Pure and simple.

I am convinced that it would reduce energy dependence and create jobs if we support local production of cradle to grave things people need, especially food. This argument was powerfully presented by a young activist for the 10% Campaign | Building North Carolina’s Local Food Economy at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Conference December 2010 as well as the keynote by Michael Shuman doing the math on how many more jobs are created by investing locally. He explains the increasing profitability and competitiveness of local businesses in this Ted Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWM0o1rfWwE.

Future food shortages have been forecast as the biggest threat to world stability. Sustainable and organic farming, especially at the local level, is more productive and resilient to severe weather than industrial chemical agriculture. http://www.energybulletin.net/…/un-report-supports-sustainable-agriculture-march-9 Genetically modified seed portends an even higher level of vulnerability, according to Dr. Don Huber, Purdue University, in a just published interview http://www.acresusa.com/toolbox/reprints/May2011_Huber.pdf. Organic agriculture also uses less energy inputs and sequesters more carbon in biologically active soil. Elaine explains at http://heartspring.net/carbon_sequestration_fungi.html

Will the inheritors of an increasingly hot world inspire more of a learning mode and acceptance of responsibility? Alec Loorz thinks, “… the voices of our whole generation need to be raised together so that the ruling generation can see that the climate crisis is really about US, our future. That’s how the idea for the iMatter March began, but it’s a huge team of people who are making it happen.”

Jan Dietrick – May 2011

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