Monday, August 13, 2007

Now or Never

We've got a new project. It's about climate change and what people are doing about it. It's Now or Never.

Melissa Play, Peter Vandermark and I are good Americans! We have all been involved in creating greenhouse gases for a long time. And now we want to conrtibute something that lowers our contribution to the problem. Peter produced, and I shot and edited a film (Out of Balance) for and with Tom Jackson about ExxonMobil's contribution to the same. But we credited ExxonMobil's contrubtion – in another sense their very literal contribution of money to causes dedicated to steer the debate away from the scientific consensus – towards inaction. They gave money to the Amercian Enterprise Institute and many more so that efforts to stall action on the growing concern about climate change would be dominant. All so that they – ExxonMobil and more like them – could make more money.

There's a good argument for the notion that everybody is simply trying to make money. But when our desire to make money goes against the welfare of others, of a common good, then we need to look at the construct. The construct needs to change. And (I believe) it IS changing because we are changing. And the world and its (our) climate is changing. That's where the current drive for solutions comes from. It relates to the above point that everybody is trying to make a buck and making a buck can be of benefit to common good when there's a good feedback loop. It seesm to me it is the feedback loop that has gone astray. Reagan and Bush felt the markets would provide all the feedback needed. But they both devalued the feedback of informed consensus. Markets have had a hard time including the real cost of their actions. Air pollution costs, toxic spills cost, and far more than may be expressed by current market value. It is a complicated calcualtion that all of us can make, not just those invested in the company and its current value.

There is a growing market for the kind of solutions we sense are happening all around us. Look at hybrid cars. They are part of a changing climate. But if one looks at the costs versus return, an economical internal-combustion car makes more sense. But there is a value in contributing to solutions. There is a value to contributing LESS greenhouse gas.

It is similar to me riding my bike into work. The savings (in terms of gas) are small. The costs is moderate –1 1/2 hours compared to the time to drive the same plus the $15 yard sale bike – but there is value in the feeling of personal accomplishment, of health benefit, of connection to my environment.

Moving from my own experience we're anxious to find what many others are doing. And moving from the "converted." We don't see this show as being about biking to work as the solution to climate change. Nor do we see exposing ExxonMobil as being the solution. Or changing the current political equation. Rather it IS those and many, many more. My sense is that they are part of a movement towards less centralized power. Like when we bombed a country to smithereens and their web of communication still made connections.

What are the solutions to climate change? A myriad ways of looking to a new form of power.

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