No more kicking the can down the road

Al Gore, in 2006, at the end of his landmark film,  An Inconvenient Truth , said:

”Each one of us is a cause of global warming, but each one of us can make choices to change that with the things we buy, the electricity we use, the car we drive; we can make choices to bring our individual carbon emissions to zero. The solutions are in our hands, we just have to have the determination to make it happen. We have everything that we need to reduce carbon emissions, everything but political will. But in America, the will to act is a renewable resource”.

In this very troubled time we live in, in America, his words are sage advice.  I think it was my good friend Nate whom I met for breakfast one Saturday morning a few months back who brought up the threat of global warming to me.  He, a father of two 20-something women living in California and Massachusetts, he, a son of two MidWest college professors, spoke intelligently and passionately about the threat of global warming and the lack of public awareness and sensible activity being exercised in America, to address this growing existential, moral and societal threat.

Nate maintained and I agree there should be a steady stream of information sharing in the media, every day, about the threat to society that the country and the world is facing due to global warming.  This could be a regular feature of all newscasts. It should be mainstream news, with a call to action, rather than being an occasional story or marginalized by the latest tweet from you know whom.

Regardless of political affiliation, Nate reasoned, there is need for urgent action to stop the potentially catastrophic environmental global disaster. He spoke off the cuff, with facts and figures: half of all living species might vanish within this century, and the fact that we dump more than 90 million tons of gaseous waste into the atmosphere without a care in the world.

Fortunately, the latest United Nations report on Climate Change has documented with scientific evidence from around the world that there is ample real-life events which demonstrate the reality of climate change.  The report shows the CO 2 concentrations are the highest they’ve ever been and the weather events like Hurricane Katrina, recent MidWest flooding, and last year’s California wildfires are happening due to a climate crisis.  Can we address the problems to give a future we can be proud of, for ourselves, our children and children’s children?

After talking with Nate, I’ve been learning more about climate change, and what could be done about it on an individual, local, state and Federal level. It’s not that I didn’t know there was a problem, but since the release of the Green New Deal (GND), championed by 29 year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts (yeah! Massachusetts!) a statement of principles and goals that can help shape the debate, I have become more aware, and through my local Democratic Town Committee, become more politically active, because being outraged alone without action is not sufficient to change the course of the climate crisis.

I’ve learned that over thirty years ago, Claudine Schneider, a Republican congresswoman from Rhode Island introduced a bill, the Global Warming Prevention Act of 1988. Her counterpart, Republican Senator John Chafee, introduced the same bill in the Senate. Thirty years ago “transformative climate legislation was widely understood to be sensible ….; Ms. Schneider’s bill had 39 co-sponsors …” wrote Nathaniel Rich, author of “Losing Earth: a Recent History” in a recent New York Times article.  Sensible bipartisan support.  Imagine that!

Still, nothing happened. We didn’t have the political will. Climate change was something that could be kicked down the road. Well, it can’t be kicked down the road any more.

Learning about our only planet, that wetlands clean and purify water, that coral reefs nourish fish populations that feed the world, that mangroves protect us from floods, and forests absorb and store carbon emissions, how we can save the planet and save our lives became more clear to me.

For the first time in my life, I’ve become more politically active by collaborating with my Franklin neighbors in the Franklin Democratic Town Committee (FDTC) to develop a set of educational forums to educate and energize the public to act locally and individually to change the world. President Obama said society changed when ordinary people get involved.  I’m getting involved, and will you?  It’s not enough to just sign a survey, give a donation, hold a sign, complain about another Trump tweet (and complicit Republicans), watch Bill Maher and laugh, for raising public awareness and opinion through education and rational debate can be a motivating factor in changing minds, hearts and lives.

I’m all in.  Our first public educational event will be held in fall 2019 in concert with 350Mass and will feature presentations by authorities in the fields of climate science and environmental activism. It will be held at a Franklin, MA location TBD.  As I write this post, I’m filling out permission and release forms for access to the excellent BBC One film “Climate Change: The Facts” featuring Sir David Attenborough which we’d like to show in part at this free event. It provides visually persuasive, dramatic footage and explanations of the disasters we experience and will continue to face in greater intensity and frequency ….. unless we can curb our addiction to fossil fuels.

Let me know if you’d like to see the agenda and speaker profiles as they take shape, as well as the things you can do now to lower your carbon footprint.  You can respond to this post or send me an email to

There’s no time like the present and no time to delay making changes in your lifestyle that can help the cause and make it your cause.








Published by Richard Halpern

Retired (but busy) after a lengthy career in business marketing, communications and research. Worked at four start-ups and one turnaround. Now volunteer doing prospect research for a climate activity and social advocacy non profit, amongst other things.

One thought on “No more kicking the can down the road

  1. Good post. But I think the emphasis now should be more on solutions and less on trying to convince people of the problem. I think there is bipartisan agreement on the existence of the problem; less so on specifically what to do about it

    Also I’m curious to learn what it means to be a delegate. I’ll call you and you can fill me in

    Sent from my iPhone


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