James Hansen, a climate scientist who certainly needs no introduction to regular readers of this site, has given a TED talk about what motivates him to activism on climate change. I beg you to find 18 consecutive distraction-free minutes to watch this video of his talk:
I wish we had many, many more people like Hansen than we do now. And by “like Hansen” I don’t mean people with his deep scientific training or his decades of experience as a working scientist. I’m talking about people who can look at the intergenerational implications of what we’re doing to the environment, and therefore to ourselves and our own kids, and feel sufficient outrage that it moves us to take action in whatever way we can. You can join protests and boycotts, write letters to editors, donate time and money to worthy organizations, participate in local actions to reach out to others, and cast meaningful votes in elections. As I’ve said since the first days of this blog nine years ago, educate and activate yourself. Don’t sit back and let fossil fuel corporations and bought politicians and their followers sell the suffering and deaths of billions of people in the coming decades to feed their already swollen bank accounts and/or appeal to their bankrupt ideology.
In other words, get off your damn ass and participate! Fight for something more important than owning the latest generation of iToy or watching reality TV or sports. Stop squandering your life and start working to build a better world. Become part of something critically important that’s bigger than your own immediate concerns.
And who knows — if enough of you do it, you just might find out that preserving a fit planet for our kids is easier and more fun than you expected.