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Some quotations on the climate crisis

This is a short post to present my recent slideshow of quotations from some prominent politicians and scientists on climate change. The slideshow is a work in progress, and will be extended over time.

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From the tragedy of recent events such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines may rise the demand of the masses that finally convinces politicians to treat climate change as the crisis that it is, implementing an effective state of emergency.

In referring to a state of emergency, I have in mind the type of scenario referred to in an interview from from 17th April 2009 on Beyond Zero Radio (3CR Melbourne) with Janet Larsen, Director of Research at the Earth Policy Institute in the USA. The interviewer was Scott Bilby. They were discussing the book “Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to save civilization“.  Here’s an extract:

Scott: “That war-footing that’s been spoken about by a few people, and can you just basically tell our audiences about the kind of World War 2 analogy?”

Janet: “Well, certainly. Sometimes social change happens rather gradually, and other times it happens immediately. You go to bed one night and you wake up, and you’re in a new world and it’s that latter case that is what happened in the United States back in 1941, December 7th, when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbour. Before that point, most Americans were rather reluctant to get involved in a massive war being fought on the far sides of two distant oceans. They didn’t feel affected, and there was very little public support to get involved.”

“After Pearl Harbour was bombed, one month later, President Roosevelt could stand before the country giving his State of the Union address and in that address he announced this incredibly ambitious arms production goals. He said we’re going to produce 45,000 tanks, 60,000 planes, 20,000 anti-aircraft guns and 6 million tons of merchant shipping. These are enormous numbers and after that he called in the leaders of the American auto manufacturing companies and he said, ‘we’re going to need all your capacity to help us achieve these goals’, and apparently the leaders of these companies hem’d and hahhed and said, ‘well you know, Mr President, we will do our best. That will be difficult, but you know, we are making these cars, but we’re going to try’. And his reply was along the lines of, ‘You don’t understand. We’re not going to be producing any cars. We’re going to be devoting all of our resources to this war effort.”

“And indeed between early 1942 and 1944, there were essentially no cars produced in this country, but instead they were churning out planes and tanks, and toy factories started manufacturing compasses, and spark plug factories were churning out machine guns. Those that made corsets were then making grenade belts. So, we, in just a matter of months, we completely restructured the U.S economy. And this is kind of massive and rapid scale restructuring that we’re saying we need to confront the challenges we’re facing today. Mainly, this is what we need to do to stop climate change from spinning out of control.”

Adopting this sort of mindset in relation to climate change may be our only hope, provided it’s not too late.

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Paul Mahony is an environmental and animal rights campaigner who is trying to remove what he considers to be blinkers and blindspots in the community, resulting from social, cultural and commercial conditioning. You can find Paul on Twitter, Slideshare, Sribd and his own blogging site, Terrastendo.

This article first appeared on the author's Terrastendo website on 15th November, 2013

Image: Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, © Dan Breckwoldt | Dreamstime.com

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