Friday, June 7, 2019

The Recent Study on Existential Climate-Related Risk, Explained

David Spratt, as shown on the
Climate Emergency Declaration website
News media is full of accounts about an Australian report, entitled “Existential Climate-Related Security Risk,” by David Spratt and Ian Dunlop, that was published in May 2019. Readers will learn about “existential threats” that may undermine civilization within 30 years. That falls within  the lifetime of our children.

The gist of the study is this. We need to examine not just the most likely scenarios when looking at future impacts from climate change, but also the more severe but less likely ones. The report explains how most climate scientists avoid excess drama, and work with simulation models that might not capture all of the forces that may make climate change more extreme than the scenarios commonly contemplated. Also, there is a general bias in society toward not examining the less likely but more extreme scenarios from a public policy perspective.

The concept of “risk,” as discussed by the authors, is a combination of the likelihood of a bad scenario and the magnitude of its impact on civilization. In their view, “existential risk” is a risk of consequences so severe that civilization or even intelligent life may be in jeopardy. They go on to explain that, without a concerted effort to address the climate crisis, the probability of the more extreme outcomes becomes more likely, and that it is prudent for us to focus on unprecedented possible outcomes rather than the most probable one.

The more extreme scenarios that result from inaction on climate change are ones that lead to large portions of the earth being rendered to hot to live in, the collapse of food systems, mass evacuations from coastal cities, and other things that will destabilize our economic and political systems. Given that we can find ourselves in a world of absolute chaos, it would be most prudent to examine and act to avoid the less likely scenarios before the climate crisis reaches the point of no return.

The climate emergency requires us to look at this issue without flinching, much like how a military strategic planner would approach it. Fortunately, groups such as the Climate Energy Declaration are organizing to press society to begin mobilization to address the urgency.

Our generation did not choose this challenge; rather, it chose us. We cannot pass this on to our children. It is up to us, and failure is not an option.

- Jeff Gahris

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Talking about climate

There's a lot of important information about the climate crisis, but how do we communicate it in an effective and meaningful way?  Michael Mann, a climatologist at Pennsylvania State University, has some ideas.  Check them out here - Climate Reality Project

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Welcome back!

After a very long hiatus, I am back to posting in this blog. It's been a busy few years for environmental activism in DuPage, and it's a long story. 

Lately the excitement around acting on global warming, and the resulting climate change, has been exploding, and solutions are being bounced around.  At last we are debating solutions, not causes.

Look for discussions of these solutions in the coming days. Some think we have done too little, too late, but we need to grieve our losses. If you find someone who is despondent and without hope, give them permission to do so by saying "I will act in your stead in the spirit of active hope, knowing that when the day comes, you be ready to move forward."

Meanwhile, check out the amazing organizing going on under the umbrella of the DuPage Clean Energy Coalition.  Engage this exciting new group through Facebook.  Please note also that subgroups are forming all over DuPage, in communities like Naperville, Wheaton, Warrenville, and Bartlett.

- Jeff Gahris

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Solar energy education this spring and summer!

Power Your Home With the Sun, presentations will be held by an Illinois Solar energy Association "Solar Ambassador" on various dates at public libraries DuPage County.  Learn how solar energy works in Illinois and how it can be put to use at your home. Come and ask questions and get answers. Contact any of the  following libraries to reserve seats.

May 9 – Villa Park Public Library
May 24 – Winfield Public Library
June 7 – Elmhurst Public Library –  in cooperation with the Elmhurst Cool Cities Coalition
July 14 – Glen Ellyn Public Library – see the newly refurbished solar house!
July 20 – Lombard Helen Plum Library
August 4 – Bartlett Public Library District

Clean Power, Clean JobsApril 28, 7-8 p.m. at Elmhurst Public Library. Elmhurst Cool Cities and the Elmhurst League of Women Voters partner to bring you Jen Walling, Executive Director of the Illinois Environmental Council. Jen will discuss the federal Clean Power Plan aimed to reduce energy usage on the entire grid, and the Illinois Clean Jobs bill which is expected to bring environmental benefits, savings for consumers, and the creation of 32,000 new jobs in Illinois.

Illinois Solar Lobby Day, May 4.  Visit your legislators in Springfield wiht others.  A powerful lelalrnign expereince and an opportunity to inpact public policy n a positieve way.  Register through ISEA

Solar Social, June 22, 7 p.m. at The Conservation Foundation's McDonald Farm in Naperville. Come and see how solar energy is used for the benefit of McDonald Farm in a relaxed social setting.  If the skies are clear, we might even set up a telescope to see Mars.  This spring Mars makes its closest approach to Earth in 10 years.

Energy Palooza, July 13, 1-3 p.m. at Cantigny Park. The newly-refurbished solar house will be on display. More information pending for this family-oriented event. 

You can find more information for about solar energy educational events by periodically visiting the Illinois Solar Energy Association.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Earth Day Festival at Maryknoll Park a Chilly Success

Thanks to the Glen Ellyn Park District, The Glen Ellyn Environmental Commission, and the various volunteers, vendors, speakers, and volunteers that made this year's celebration a success.