What you can do to help fight AGW
Several dozen times, I have been asked something like:
Ludwig, what do you think is the most effective action for an individual to take at this point?
Here are my answers:
1. Get really clear on the science and the need to stop burning fossil fuels as quickly as possible.
Let’s not mince words. The science is the science. In science, there are only two sides, the correct side and everything else that is incorrect. It is not a matter of debate. It is not a matter of being “fair.” There is no second place in science. Just like a kid who writes that 3 X 7 = 38 gets marked wrong on an exam, so does anyone who gets the science wrong. Opinions simply do not matter in science. Only facts, mathematics and data matter.
The facts, mathematics and data are clear. AGW is happening. It has been happening. We are causing it. The consequences of not changing course will be utterly catastrophic. The science is not even that difficult to understand in terms of basic mechanisms. Simply put, CO2 does what it does. Feedbacks do what they do. These are simple mechanisms to understand.
Get real about what utterly catastrophic means. It means billions of refugees, mass starvation, drought, famine spread of contagion, war for diminishing resources, and ultimately billions of deaths - not to mention the extinction of many species that we like.
These changes are coming much sooner rather than later. In physics, there is no variable or parameter for mercy. The universe will, through brutal cause and effect, kill you if you do something stupid. Be real about this.
This is not what just I am saying. This is the analysis of every major scientific organization on the planet. This is what NASA, NOAA, APS, AIP, AGU, the Royal Society, The French and German academies and even many in the US military say (to name a few).
A quick perusal of my posts here will bring you dozens of links from actual scientific sources that all tell this story.
2. Get really clear that alternative energy sources exist and can be deployed. Be able to make the case for solar, wind and nuclear. Understand about smart grids and advanced battery systems.
For example, Denmark produces 21% of its electricity from wind and Germany has deployed effective wind and smart grids as well. So has the US Navy. Again, in my pages, you will find many links to these facts. Anyone who tells you that these things are not economically viable has not looked into the actual economics of this. The only “economies” hurt by this are the private economies of companies like Exxon and BP - and nations like Saudi Arabia. The technologies work. They are deployable, and the terrible things referred to in part one need not happen.
3. Be willing to walk the talk and pay for such systems in the form of taxes or home improvements - with the understanding that it is an investment and that the systems once deployed will make energy prices ultimately go down and boost America’s economy. Also understand this means being able to tell the Saudis and Iran and Venezuela to go to hell.
4. Tell people about what you have learned. Just tell them. Tell them the facts and get as many clear on the first three points as you can. The only way that things will really change is if the average person gets a clue. That is the only way to overcome the cowardice and greed in DC.
5. Conserve energy at home. Do the basic and obvious things. Turn off lights that are not in use. Fix that leaky faucet. Walk places or ride bikes for a change rather than taking the car for super short trips.
Put solar panels on your roof if you can afford it. There are numerous Federal, State and local programs that can help you do this. In fact, certain people in New Jersey have had their homes solarized for free.
Buy a hybrid car or an electric if you can afford one. There is a massive tax credit to buy many of these vehicles.
If the market for hybrids goes up, then more get made.
6. Write your congress critter. Make the case eloquently and state facts.
Demand that the government make the needed changes to move us off of fossil fuels.
7. Write your local TV news. Demand that they cover the science of AGW more. Demand that they cover the consequences of inaction more. Demand that they stop attempting to create a false equivalence between actual scientists and political cranks.
8. Buy less sweatshop crap from China. They are poised to overtake us as the worlds largest polluter. We are funding it. You are personally funding it every time you buy some cheap crap you do not need.
9. Walk the talk. If you think about it, there are thousands of things you really can do. Every little bit helps.
10. Do not give up hope. Hopelessness leads to inaction. Action can still be taken.