Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Do the Math

Bill McKibbon is an environmental writer who has been informing us of the reality of climate change since the 1980's. In 2008 he started, a citizen's group dedicated to slowing climate change. In short, he is amazing.
On Sunday, I went to the premier of his new film, Do the Math. In it, he states that scientist have deemed that a rise of more than 2 degrees Celsius will cause huge changes to our planet. If we want to keep temperature rise below this number, we have to keep the amount of fossil fuels we burn below a "safe" level. The problem is, oil companies already have more than 5 times the "safe" number of fossil fuels in their oil reserves and are still destroying the planet trying to find more.
There are already lots of ways to feasibly generate electricity using renewable sources, but until fossil fuels are no longer the cheapest option, people are going to keep using them. There is no motivation to change our infrastructure around when the price at the pump is still fairly cheap.
The problem is, the cost of fossil fuels is cheap because they have externalized the real costs. They don't pay for the environmental damage when they drill for oil or frack for natural gas, they don't pay the hospital bills of everyone who gets sick because of their actions, and they certainly won't pay to replace out planet when global warming starts to take its toll. These corporations are concerned with making a profit, and that is what they do.
So, the idea behind Do the Math is that we should make fossil fuels more expensive than renewable energy. And no, we shouldn't just make the cost of fuel skyrocket and bankrupt all but the richest. We should make the renewable energy more affordable, and we should make the cost of fossil fuels reflect the true cost.
How to do this? Divest! Stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry through investments. Stop giving them subsidies. Make them pay taxes. What we should have been doing all along.
The film was moving and incredibly motivating. The 45 or so folks that were there to see the film all stayed after and had a discussion, and in the end, we decided that we wanted to be vectors of change. As citizens of Oregon, we felt that we should try and get Oregon to pull investments out of fossil fuels. And, as an employee of a community college, I hope to rally students and do the same at the place where I work.
If we can build a community, and work together, then maybe there is still time to take back our planet. It's worth a try anyways.
Please join in and watch the 40-minute film here. Maybe you will be inspired to action as well. Pin It Now!

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