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Wrapping a Ribbon on Copenhagen

Jamie Horter, my friend and co-worker at the Green Project, just finished up two weeks of leadership and action in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is part of the Will Steger Foundation’s “Expedition Copenhagen” team, a dozen youth representing the Midwest (that’s us) at the United Nations Climate Conference that ended Friday. While President Obama calls the Copenhagen Accord a “breakthrough,” most feel it isn’t much more than an agreement to make an agreement later. Lost in the media hoopla about failure in Denmark are the powerful stories and relationships that were sparked and shared.

Thanks to Jamie, I was able to experience a few of them from afar. We skyped several times during the Conference and she shared some cool, and some heartbreaking things. Her team made this video before they departed, with a message of hope. We still can change the future.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2009 in activism, global warming

 

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Live from Copenhagen

I skipped lunch today so I could talk on Skype to my pal Jamie Horter, who is in Copenhagen at the UN Climate Talks.  She told me about spending her day in the ‘Bat Cave’ (a cold room literally under a pond in Copenhagen), and living in the Matrix the past two weeks. I heard the real story about demonstrations (100,000+ peaceful demonstrators, about 20 knuckleheads), about the tricks big countries are playing to make decisions when poor developing country leaders are out of the room, and how capitalism is much more important than survival in the Bella Center.

Jamie also told me about the Kenyan people she’s been working with about the suffering happening right now in their country, and the tear-jerker talk the President of the tiny island country of The Maldives gave today (his entire country will soon be under water)… People are dying. Right now. And we keep pumping more and more climate changing gases into the air with abandon.

And so I pass on lunch. Will it matter?

Hopelessness is creeping in. Can we really save ourselves from ourselves? I need a shot of Hopenhagen.

 
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Posted by on December 17, 2009 in activism, global warming, rants

 

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Stick to the Science, Save the Future of Humanity

It’s really that important. See this graph from Bill McKibben at 350.org? The talks in Copenhagen right now are settling. Leaders of big countries are throwing their weight around in the name of economics and politics, settling on agreements that will mean catastrophic consequences for people, and all species, all over the world in the next 90 years. This is not something that our great grandchildren will need to worry about–it’s something people in poor parts of this world are suffering from right now. And it will get much, much worse. Bill, the most level-headed, science-based, smart climate activist I’ve followed, calls it “devastating.”

So, click here to call your leaders at the Copenhagen climate conference. Just ask them to stick to the science, not the bullshit.

And, if you feel like doing something unusual to show your support for the millions of poor people who are or will be starving due to climate change, join thousands of others around the world in a day of fasting on Thursday. Whatever fasting means to you. To me, it’ll mean eating nothing for a day, just to remind myself how what I do each day effects people on the other side of this beautiful planet.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2009 in global warming, rants

 

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Three practices from Inner Climate Villages

Something that gave me peace this morning, shared by a wise teacher named Toke Moller who is a friend of some friends. Toke is helping to organize “inner climate learning villages” across the globe during the COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen (ending this week). Out of the village experiences so far, three helpful, simple practices have arisen.

What’s a learning village? A simple gathering space for people to gain a new perspective on their world. Here are the three practices from an Inner Climate Village going on in Copenhagen right now. Read more about them here.

Our knowing: There’s enough if we share
Practice: SHARE IT

Our knowing: We all have a choice
Practice: CHOOSE ON BEHALF OF THE PLANET

Our knowing: We are nature
Practice: FIND YOUR NATURAL RHYTHM & BREATHE – MOVE – LAUGH – REST

You can host your own Learning Village in an hour, a few hours, a full day or more. Toke and some others have made a fine little how-to manual that you can download for free.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2009 in activism, global warming, presencing

 

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No more toilet paper

This Tuesday night, find out what it’s like to live without TV, cars, take out, or toilet paper.

My friend Mike at MinusCar and I (actually, Sioux Falls Green Project) are hosting a FREE movie on December 8 called No Impact Man. The show starts at 7pm at Augustana College (Gilbert Science Center Rm 100), and I hope you’ll come. No Impact Man tracks the one-year experiment of Colin Beavan and his family, when they swore off all the Earth-hating stuff most of us do every day without thinking much about it, just to see if they could do it.

What they found was a happier, better, more meaningful life.

I’ve been a reader of Colin’s blog since early in his experiment, and have learned a ton from him. I think you would too. Right before the movie starts, we’ll be Skyping with Jamie Horter, live from the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, to see what she’s up to.

So, if getting smarter is your thing, or you just want to get away from something/one for a couple hours, RSVP here (Facebook) or here. If you come, please bring a cup from home. We’ll provide the toilet paper.

Here’s the movie trailer:

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2009 in activism, education, global warming, going green

 

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Hopenhagen


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OK, it’s time to talk climate change. I know it’s a touchy topic for some bartblog readers (and I love you anyway), but let’s just get something clear: climate change is happening, fast. And it’s mostly our fault.

All the really smart scientists say so, and so did South Dakota legend Tony Dean. And experts say it’s worse than we first thought, especially those who study the poles first hand (like Minnesota uber-explorer Will Steger). If we keep up the status quo, our changing weather will be particularly painful for lots of South Dakotans, like hunters and farmers (and people who like to drink water). So enough about some sort of debate about wether climate change is for real. (It’s as silly as a “debate” about evolution.) The only worthwhile and super-important debate is how we (as in humanity) should do something about it. There, now that’s out of the way…

Leaders from all over the planet will be gathering in December at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.  One of those leaders will be my friend and intern–if we all pitch in to help get her there.

Jamie Horter works with me at the Sioux Falls Green Project. She’s also a senior at Augustana College in Sioux Falls. Jamie was picked by Will Steger to be part of his foundation’s Expedition Copenhagen, a group of Midwest youth who will travel with him to the Climate Change Conference next month. Jamie has been interacting with kids and grown ups around South Dakota, gathering up hopes and dreams for our state’s future. She’ll be our messenger in December, talking about stuff near and dear to our hearts here in good ‘ol SD. Things like our place in the clean energy future, and our love of the land, rural communities and agriculture (see her video on YouTube). You can get more details on a blog post I wrote for the Green Project here.

Please help Jamie get to Copenhagen. She’s too shy to ask you, so I will. We need to raise some bucks to cover her travel expenses from South Dakota to Copenhagen and back. Her travel is not covered by Will Steger, and she’s a college student. You can drop a dime or two here, or give me a shout. Every dime will be used to help Jamie connect us to the talks in Denmark December 7-13. If you can’t chip in, that’s OK. Just help me spread the word, and this link: http://jamiehorter.chipin.com. I promise she’s way worth it.

We can’t all go to Denmark. If you live in the Midwest, please connect with Jamie to share your message. If you live somewhere else (or not), there’s a really cool project out there gathering up hope from all over the world and plastering it on the leaders who will attend the conference in Copenhagen. Please share your dreams and hopes and fears at Hopenhagen.

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Above is a shot of one of the awareness campaigns Jamie recently helped organize. Check that stunning little activist in the colorful hat on the far right!

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2009 in activism, global warming, South Dakota

 

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Nudging the Clouds: Blog Action Day 09

Today is Blog Action Day. For one day each year, the folks at change.org invite bloggers everywhere to unite around action on an important topic in the world. Today, there’s nothing more important and scary than climate change. There are crazy big changes coming that will effect the life of everyone on this planet, and much of it was done by us. We didn’t mean to screw things up, we didn’t even realize we were doing it. But now we know, and now we can change.

So, how do we change our behaviors–the way we go about everything–in one big swoop? We can’t. Humans have designed and built a society and life infrastructure that doesn’t work without messing up countless ecosystems, from our own bodies to our backyard to the other side of planet Earth. Reconstructing those social and built norms is like trying to push a cloud with our hands. It would be easier to just say screw it.

That would be normal. After all, despite overwhelming evidence that all those Big Macs and desk jobs and video games and chemical cocktails in our food are killing us, we keep up behaviors that doctors tell us will give us cancer or a heart attack or some other disease. Over and over again. It seems there are only two things that can change that kind of normal behavior: Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2009 in activism, Food, global warming, Mother Earth

 

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