Hear their words from the heart – Dr. James Hansen, Pope Francis, Naomi Klein, Lord Nicholas Stern, Dr. Vandana Shiva, and more!
Dr. James Hansen says:
Because of the buildup of CO2 in the atmosphere, stemming mainly from the burning of fossils fuel, Earth is in a state of significant energy imbalance. That imbalance now averages about 0.6 Watts/m2 over the entire planet – equivalent to exploding more than 400,000 Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs per day, 365 days per year.
We’re not going to reduce emissions as long as we let fossil fuels be the cheapest form of energy. There are lots of countries that want to lift their people out of poverty. And, of course, they should do that. But everybody would be better off if the price of fossil fuels was honest. It should include its cost to society.
We should add a rising fee to the carbon—the fossil fuel price. It would be very easy to do at the domestic mine or port of entry, a very small number of places.
As long as fossil fuels are dirt cheap, people will keep burning them.
You have to make the fossil fuel price honest.
Pope Francis says:
There is a nobility in the duty to care for creation through little daily actions, and it is wonderful how education can bring about real changes in lifestyle.
We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread.
Education in environmental responsibility can encourage ways of acting which directly and significantly affect the world around us, such as avoiding the use of plastic and paper, reducing water consumption, separating refuse, cooking only what can reasonably be consumed, showing care for other living beings, using public transport or car-pooling, planting trees, turning off unnecessary lights, or any number of other practices. All of these reflect a generous and worthy creativity which brings out the best in human beings.
Naomi Klein says:
We need to be very clear: because of our decades of collective denial, no gradual, incremental options are now available to us.
And if there is one thing we can be sure of, it’s that extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the British floods—disasters that, combined, pummeled coastlines beyond recognition, ravaged millions of homes, and killed many thousands—are going to keep coming.
Hope has never trickled down, it has always sprung up.
There is plenty of room to make a profit in a zero-carbon economy; but the profit motive is not going to be the midwife for that great transformation.
Lord Nicholas Stern says:
We run enormous risks and we know what kind of reductions of greenhouse gases are necessary to drastically reduce risks. Reducing emissions by half by 2050 is roughly in the right ballpark. It would bring us below 550 ppm.
My father’s generation’s crisis was fighting fascism. Ours is fighting climate change. It is much harder because you can’t see it, it is not an obvious threat. But the solution is in our hands.
Dr. Vandana Shiva says:
I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I believe that if you just do your little bit without thinking of the bigness of what you stand against, if you turn to the enlargement of your own capacities, just that itself creates new potential.
You are not Atlas carrying the world on your shoulder. It is good to remember that the planet is carrying you.
I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy.
Soil, not oil, holds the future for humanity.
I like to live my life so that my loved ones give me the things I need as gifts and I give them the things they need. Frankly a society built around consumerism is hell.
Because of these new car models there is suddenly on the streets of Delhi a new intolerance by the motorists for both the cows and the cyclists. So for the first time the sacred cow in India, which used to be such a wonderful speed-breaker, is now seen as a nuisance. For the first time, I’ve seen cows being hit and hurt. These guys just go right past, and if the cow is sitting on the road, they don’t care. We can’t afford to have a sacred car rather than a sacred cow.
I do have fun. Even when I’m fighting I’m enjoying it: I think there’s nothing as exhilarating as protecting that which you find precious.
President Jose Mujica says:
We can almost recycle everything now. If we lived within our means, by being prudent, the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction. But we think as people and countries, not as a species.
Dr. Wangari Maathai says:
We have a responsibility to protect the rights of generations, of all species, that cannot speak for themselves today. The global challenge of climate change requires that we ask no less of our leaders, or ourselves.
You cannot protect the environment unless you empower people, you inform them, and you help them understand that these resources are their own, that they must protect them.
Education, if it means anything, should not take people away from the land, but instill in them even more respect for it, because educated people are in a position to understand what is being lost. The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. As I told the foresters, and the women, you don’t need a diploma to plant a tree.
The little grassroots people can change this world.
There are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.
In Kenya women are the first victims of environmental degradation, because they are the ones who walk for hours looking for water, who fetch firewood, who provide food for their families.
All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all life, everything that is on this planet. It must be this voice that is telling me to do something, and I am sure it’s the same voice that is speaking to everybody on this planet – at least everybody who seems to be concerned about the fate of the world, the fate of this planet.
Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do.