Demonstrating a Climate of Hope

Despite all the terrible events this year caused in large part by global climate change: including the worst wildfire season in the Pacific U.S.; major Category 5 hurricanes that destroyed much of Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, parts of Florida, and Houston; droughts in the southwest and snow in the southeast parts of U.S….there are numerous reasons to keep hope alive. In fact, perhaps because of these and many other tragic events, a new awaking is emerging worldwide that we got ourselves into this mess by not understanding the delicate balance of nature and cumulative human impacts, so we must quickly find ways out of our calamity.

After reading a new book published this summer by former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and former Sierra Club president Carl Pope, I feel so much more informed and optimistic about positive actions being taken. The book is titled Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet.

Mr. Bloomberg shares his wisdom that many mayors are making substantial progress in sharp contrast to the dysfunction in Washington. In New York City, ten years ago he led implementing sustainability with PlaNYC. A great outcome is the greening of the Empire State Building! Mr. Pope describes many battles that he personally waged such as the Beyond Coal campaign which prevented about 120 coal plants from being built allowing for newer, cleaner technologies to emerge. The book exemplifies the Earth Day idea of Think Globally, Act Locally.

Both leaders describe green actions including jobs that are transforming our society. For example, instead of promoting more coal mining jobs which are being replaced mostly by robotics so why not help out of work coal miners get jobs to restore areas damaged by past mining?

So here is a list of some great quotes cited in Climate of Hope from seven mayors and other renowned thinkers as chapter headings giving a sense of multiple topics:

·         Dwight D. Eisenhower: “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.”

·         Denis Coderre: “If you want to get things done, ask a mayor.”     

·         Jason Box: “It’s really quite simple. We’ve overloaded the atmosphere with heat-trapping gas and the rest are just details.”

·         Cindy Lerner: “Turning the Miami region into a real-world Atlantis is a fate we cannot accept.”

·         Alisha Winters: “Our families deserve clean air, and we have been without it for far too long.”

·         Dale Ross: “Our municipal utility will move to 100 percent renewables…Environmental zealots have not taken over our city council. Our move to wind and solar is chiefly a business decision.”

·         Kasim Reed: “You cannot have a national initiative without involving cities.”

·         Alice Waters: The reality is that the sustainable-food movement’s reach will grow only to a point and ultimately will be limited to those with access, means, and education – unless legislators dramatically change food and agriculture policy.”

·         Yeom Tae-Young: “As urban populations continue to grow, we cannot rely on the business-as-usual scenario of car-based cities.”

·         Amory Lovins: “Oil dependence is a problem we need no longer have – and it’s cheaper not to. U.S. oil dependence can be eliminated by proven and attractive technologies that create wealth, enhance choice, and strengthen common security.”

·         Diane Regas: A sustainable world is possible if we take advantage of the vast opportunities in manufacturing. We must view these industries – and their supply chains – as a source of solutions, not just a source of problems.”

·         Christiana Figueres: “Climate change increasingly poses one of the biggest long-term threats to investment.”

·         Mitch Landrieu: “For generations, barrier islands, marshes, and cypress trees as far as the eye could see protected us from hurricanes…For decades the coast has been under attack from every angle: cut by canals, starved of nutrients, and battered by storms…This attack must stop and be reversed.”

·         Albert Einstein: “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

·         Marty Walsh: “We know that climate action only works when we get everyone involved: our government, our businesses, neighborhoods, and residents.”