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Too Fast for Gas By Tim Foresman

posted Dec 10, 2013, 1:23 PM by Daniel Duesterhaus   [ updated Dec 10, 2013, 4:57 PM ]

Transition Howard County is about assisting each other to chart better pathways to a healthy and sustainable world. When it comes to fossil fuels and the corporate infrastructure that mines and markets the Earth’s energy resources, we are witnessing a fast approaching and unprecedented collision course with our goals and aspirations. Our Earth’s climate is not slowly changing. It is changing more rapidly than any known or conjectured shift in climate swings outside the catastrophic asteroid impacts last witnessed at the Cretaceous extinction event over 65 million years ago.

The human brain is wired to view things in day-to-day perceptions; we really don’t grasp the exponential shifts that are occurring all around us. Fossil fuel companies are dedicated, with expressed promises to their investors and stockholders to burning the maximum amount of fossil fuel in their inventories until they run out. The only chance to slow down this self-imposed house-burning is probably behind us. Many of us have been telling, perhaps yelling, that we need to kick the oil and coal habits, engage in transformative conservation behaviors and go full throttle on renewable energy regardless of the short-term costs because we know we cannot afford the long-term costs. Bill McKibben’s recent book, Oil and Honey, provides a poignant review of how the largest mobilization of environmental activists may have hit the streets 25 years too late. The Earth is heating up faster and the ice is melting faster than our best Earth scientists calculated or predicted just a couple years ago. We stand at an important crossroads looking at our own moral compasses and contemplating what should we do and how fast should we push.

It seems for many who have been waist-deep in the Earth and climate science arena that the past years' events are happening way too fast to continue with business as usual. If the Earth’s systems are changing too fast for gas, then what should we do? Like those brave citizens who made the moral and ethical decisions to cut all economic ties with the Apartheid governance infrastructure of South Africa, in response to the clarion call for racial equality from the late great Nelson Mandela, we are faced with probably the greatest social and moral dilemma of our adult lives. How can we continue to sponsor or be part of an economic system based on fossil fuel? How can we remain tethered to a complex and powerful fossil fuel energy system that will guarantee unprecedented damage to the Earth systems bringing destruction and trauma for the majority of the planet’s most vulnerable citizens? Transition Howard County is taking initial steps to educate and engage within our communities. Soon we will need to yell “fire” in our theaters of influence to promote the requisite stampede for change. Or else we can simply ride out the most rapid shift in climate over the last few million years.