Philippine commission begs negotiators to take Kyoto Protocol seriously.

December 9, 2012 | By | Reply More

At the recent Doha climate talks, Philippine climate change commissioner, Naderev M. Sano, appealed to his fellow negotiators at a session deciding the contours of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. The context is as follows:

“Please let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around,” he said as he choked back tears.

Just days before, Typhoon Bopha had hit the Philippines, killing hundreds of people. The typhoon, having been both unusually forceful and out of season, was deemed — like Hurricane Sandy — to be an extreme weather event, exacerbated by climate change.

This is an extremely powerful moment. It plays into my frustration with those around me, and my frustration with myself. With a few extraordinary exceptions, Americans rolling along, not treating the use of fossil fuels as a weapon. We are all going to need to take this problem seriously, and I’m afraid deep down, that we won’t, and millions of people by the sea (and many of those far from the sea) are going to suffer horribly, and we will all take the result as “natural disasters.” I don’t mean to sound preachy. I’m about to get on a plane with my family and burn lots of fossil fuel to travel to see relatives during the Christmas holiday. If I were serious, I would not get on that plane, right? I’d make a statement by not traveling. All of that bicycle riding I do for commuting is for naught with one pleasure trip during the holidays. Further, I don’t know how most of us will face down the temptation to exploit the earth unsustainably when this exhaustion of resources described in detail by Geoffrey Miller is intimately tied to our sense of self-worth and our craving to display our worthiness to those around us.

My mood was captured by James Taylor in a haunting song from his 1997 Hourglass album, a song titled “Gaia”:

The sky was light and the land all dark
The sun rose up over Central Park
I was walking home from work
The petal sky and the rosy dawn
The world turning on the burning sun
Sacred wet green one we live on
Run run run run said the automobile and we ran
Run for your life take to your heels
Foolish school of fish on wheels
Turn away from your animal kind
Try to leave your body just to live in your mind
Leave your cold cruel mother earth behind
As if you were your own creation
As if you were the chosen nation
And the world around you just a rude and
Dangerous invasion

Someone`s got to stop us now
Save us from us Gaia
No one`s gonna stop us now

We thought we ought to walk awhile
So we left that town in a single file
Up and up and up mile after mile after mile

We reached the tree line and I dropped my pack
Sat down on my haunches and I looked back down
Over the mountain
Helpless and speechless and breathless


Pray for the forest pray to the tree
Pray for the fish in the deep blue sea
Pray for yourself and for God`s sake
Say one for me
Poor wretched unbeliever

Someone`s got to stop us now
Save us from us Gaia
No one`s gonna stop us now


Category: Environment, global warming

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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