Re: How do we communicate that global warming is a local need?
> So how can we provide financial incentives for peopleThe link on "Conserve, Now" by Mike Neuman identifies where some of the money would come from to fund the rebates for low miles traveled.
> to limit their driving? Are we thinking of a tax
> credit/rebate idea?
In reply to the question "How do we communicate that global warming is a local need?"
There are many ways to spread the word that global warming is an
problem every community needs to pay great attention to. Some ways
are best done by working with others in a group setting, while other
things can be done by an individual.
Examples might include:
Write letters to editors;
Hold public meetings, lectures, teach-ins, demonstrations;
Contact local officials;
I have been working in a small group (of about 10 people) taking
actions for about 3 years now. We've contacted several thousand
people in one way or another over that time, and I've had 20+ letters
to the editor published in our local newspaper and in the Milwaukee
paper, too. We've also worked with other organizations in getting our
message out, such as the Union of Concerned Scientists. We've
contacted our state and federal representatives as well.
Not all our letters to the editors get published, but enough of them
do to make the activity worthwhile. Depending on the newspaper's
circulation, you can reach thousands of people from the local area
Below is an article I wrote for our "Preserve Our Climate Coalition",
which is the name I proposed for our group about 2 years ago. The
article was published in one of Madison's two local newspapers, and
it has also been published on Madison's Independent Media Center
website. (There are similar indymedia sites for most larger cities in
I would highly recommend this approach for other locations. All it
takes is one or two people to initiate it. To get started, all we did
was run an ad in the local paper, on the community radio station in
Madison and put up a few posters. At the first meeting, we agreed on
a schedule for meetings for the next 6 months. We started with about
20 people from the community that way.
Some folks decided it wasn't for them, so we've had about 10 of us
meeting monthly for the last 3 years. We also have about 50-60
people on our "PreserveOurClimate" listserv (yahoo). Some of them
post comments but don't attend the meetings. They do come to events
that we schedule in the community though.
Please feel free to send the article below to others you think
might be intested in viewing it. You can even send it directly from
the web site:
ref=tct:2004:12:04:395747:EDITORIAL> (see top of article)
Good luck if you try to make this approach work in your community.
You are welcome to use our group's name (POC) if you'd like to. If
you do, just add a dash (-) followed by your city's name.
The POC - Madison coalition also has a web site with a number of
links we thought visitors and members might be interested in. Our
website is located at:
"As Global Warming Threat Grows, Individuals Can Make A Difference"
by the Preserve Our Climate Coalition - Madison, Wisconsin
The Capital Times :: EDITORIAL :: 9A
Saturday, December 4, 2004
Madison Independent Media Center
December 7, 2004
We are concerned the Bush administration has been ignoring sound
science in deciding not to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from
power plants and other sources.
The recently released Arctic Climate Impact Assessment concluded that
there is indeed a very real threat of more rapid global warming in
the coming decades, due mainly to the buildup of billions of tons of
carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere. The Bush administration rejected the Kyoto Protocol,
which would have required the United States to reduce by 2008 our
annual greenhouse gas emissions to levels 7 percent below our 1990
The Arctic climate report offers sobering confirmation that the
Earth's climate is drastically changing, largely the result of humans
burning far too much fossil fuel (oil, coal and natural gas). To help
prevent the worst of the impacts of global warming, scientists say we
must greatly reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases.
According to the climate report, the Arctic is warming rapidly. The
loss of ice cover is stressing animal life, such as polar bears,
which depend on the sea ice for hunting and movement to obtain food.
The Arctic's warming is creating monumental changes for the native
Inuit population, who depend on traditional fishing methods and safe
ice. On Alaska's western shores, early ice-out and rising seas are
contributing to heavy erosion and costly scouring of extensively
inhabited shore land.
Closer to home, Madison escaped temperatures above 90 degrees this
past summer, but the city did have its first "ozone action day" in
early September. It is expected that warmer temperatures, combined
with increased fuel burning in automobiles and trucks around the
city, will cause more ozone actions days and more potentially
dangerous heat waves in Madison in the future.
Because most greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere a long time
(carbon dioxide lasts 50-200 years), scientists predict temperatures
will continue to increase worldwide -- even if emissions are reduced.
That is why they say it is urgent that we reduce our emissions now --
to try to slow the projected temperature rise.
The Preserve Our Climate Coalition formed here in Madison in the
spring of 2001 following release of the International Panel on
Climate Change's landmark study. We are a group of individuals,
scientists and local organization representatives whose overall
mission is to encourage and assist Madison area residents, public
organizations and institutions, private interests and elected
officials in learning about and confronting the issue of the changing
To help reduce the threat from rapid global warming, we urge
individuals, families and public and private organizations to
minimize their daily and annual greenhouse gas emissions by any means
they can. Here are some recommendations:
The transportation sector emits the most greenhouse gases (33 percent
of total annual carbon dioxide emissions in 2003) in the United
States. One of the largest daily sources of individual greenhouse gas
emissions is your car. Car pooling, taking mass transit more often,
walking, bicycling or just avoiding motor vehicle travel are all
viable options to consider before jumping in the car and driving solo.
Choosing a more fuel-efficient vehicle, in combination with driving
fewer miles per day, can have a compound effect in reducing your
daily emissions. Avoiding travel by air will significantly reduce
emissions from personal transportation.
Purchasing locally manufactured products and foods reduces fossil
fuels burned in transportation.
Installing low-energy compact fluorescent lightbulbs in your home
reduces electricity consumption. Electricity is often produced by
burning coal and natural gas.
Make sure you don't keep your house too warm in the winter or too
cold in summer. Taking steps to better insulate your home will save
money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions produced from burning
natural gas or oil or using electricity to heat your home. These
measures should be considered for commercial, manufacturing and
government buildings as well.
Meeting your heating and electricity needs by using renewable non-
combustion energy (wind, solar, geothermal) will eliminate greenhouse
emissions from your home completely.
Additionally, it is important to support policy initiatives to raise
vehicle fuel efficiency standards, promote expansion of public
transportation options, and develop and implement renewable energy
We need to use our creativity to develop new and better strategies
for reducing global warming emissions while simultaneously improving
our lives by reducing pollution and maintaining environmental justice.
Any amount we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our area (and
the rest of the United States) will contribute to the world's
collective fight against worsening global warming. We must begin that
fight in earnest, to preserve our climate, starting now.
/ Members of the Preserve our Climate Coalition who signed this
column are Michael Neuman, Susan Nossal, Jon Bishop, Michele Moede,
Stephen Burns and Sierra Powers of Madison, Derek Bauer of Oregon and
David Steffenson of Columbus. Web site:
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