I had my environmental epiphany four years ago. It coincided with a weekend snowshoe trip and ascent of NewYork state’s highest peak, Mt. Marcy during a frigid January weekend. The trip was filled with many of those strange coincidences (synchronicities) that we all have encountered at times, all which were to become the impetus of my new found “green” consciousness. At age 47, I had found my new “religion” and began to set my sights on what I might do to help propel the green movement forward.
Since then, there have been the countless books I’ve devoured on the subject, some of which flew over my head with their intricate scientific detail. I went to meetings, watched documentaries, organized events and I became a member of numerous environmental organizations (both local & national) all of which fueled my new found passion. To trump all of that, by 2010, I launched and continue to spearhead my very own environmental awareness initiative – Green Buffalo Runner / www.greenbuffalorunner.org.
Like any movement, I realized at the outset that any type of change will come slow. The proverbial two steps forward, one step back mantra is the norm that most of us "green hawks" have come to accept. The most grandiose example of this was typified by President Obama’s reluctance to green light construction of the Keystone XL pipeline in 2012, yet work on the southern portion of the pipeline moves ahead in earnest.
I’m a strong supporter of civil disobedience and cheer on my kindred spirits who attend rallies and sit-ins to protest pipelines and coal plants, etc., yet at the same time question how so many can afford to take the time off and miss work to attend such events. I am very cognoscente of the monumental battle we are up against, our loosely held set of voices butting heads against big oil and big energy and to a larger extent the mindset that pervades the very essence of the way we as American’s choose to live and consume.
Sure I could continue to donate a few dollars to support various environmental campaigns but as of late have opted out. The environmental organizations I was so anxious to join just a few years back have become repetitive in their ongoing requests for donations. My environmental passions has not waned in the least and if anything have grown stronger but the calls for $25 or $50 donations to the organizations I once eagerly supported has grown bothersome.
Please don’t take this short year-end diatribe as a defeatist manifesto, quite the contrary. The climate is in serious jeopardy and yet despite our collective choir of voices, nothing much seems to engage our elected leaders to take any type of significant action. Based on the ludicrous logic that seems to handcuff our nation on some many important issues, climate change is no different. Our battle is made even more challenging because the immediate impacts of ever rising CO2 are not something that any of us can see. Yes, the occasional and every intensifying weather events of the last few years seem to have swayed some but a consensus is far from hand. Even with the ever churning 24/7 news cycle covering these horrific storms, climate change is rarely mentioned as a contributing factor. If I can extract one positive out of the utter devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, it was the voices of NY State Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg highlighting climate change as a contributing factor to the devastation.
All great societal shits take time and none have come easy. The forces seeking to mainstain the status quo are a dominating force. Little can be done to alter a person’s world view solely through the mind, the road we must take is delivering the message to the hearts of others. Paraphrasing a famous Ghandi quote, “We must be the change we want to see in the world.”. I pledge to begin anew today.