Friday, April 20, 2007

Some Great Earth Day Tips ... and the One They Leave Out


National Geographic's The Green Guide celebrates Earth Day with its Top Ten Tips for Preserving Biodiversity. All good stuff.

WashingtonPost.com marked Earth Day with a chat called Tips for Living Environmentally Friendly with two writers from Treehugger.com. Very interesting.

None of the tips will stop the biggest environmental crisis of our time -- global warming brought on by carbon emissions from human activity.

Look, I know small personal choices can add up to make a huge difference. I'm the one relentlessly pitching the Green Living Challenge.

But personal change without political change will not be enough to stop climate change. At a time when Virginia's carbon emissions are skyrocketing and Dominion is planning new coal-fired power plants, only government action can reverse the trend.

Treehugger.com's Jacob Gordon says the site doesn't get into political issues because "we try not to pigeon hole ourselves too much -- we'd like to have as broad an appeal as we can."

Welcoming as many people as possible into the green tent (especially when you're trying to make money with your website) is fine, but when it comes to politics, environmentalists are too quick to compromise, back off, or never make their case at all. I hate them as much or more than you do, but the NRA's radical extremism has won the gun war despite widespread public support for gun control, while the environmental movement's cautious incrementalism has gotten us nowhere on emissions. I'm not suggesting we emulate the NRA's ideology, but I envy their strategy and discipline.

So I have just one tip for you on Earth Day 2007:

Write your Representative and Senators today and tell them America must cut its carbon emissions 80% by the year 2050 -- the goal laid out in last weekend's Step It Up rallies.

It may not happen this year. It may not happen at all unless a Democrat is elected president in 2008. But we have to let our elected officials know we want action and we want it now.

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