Rise for Climate Wherever You Are on September 8, 2018

Pick up a sign and voilà you are an activist.

On September 8, 2018, join people around the world who are taking part in the Rise for Climate day of action to demand jobs, justice, and 100% renewable energy.

Rise for Climate is a worldwide event with hundreds of actions planned for the Saturday before the Global Climate Action Summit that California Governor Jerry Brown is hosting in San Francisco September 12-14, 2018.

If you can make it to San Francisco, you have an opportunity to participate in what is shaping up to be the largest climate march ever to occur on the West Coast. You could be one of the thousands of people taking to the streets carrying signs and loudly informing government officials and corporate CEOs that you want green jobs, environmental justice, and a society powered by renewable energy, now.

This may sound silly, but I can attest to the magic of picking up a sign and carrying it in a march with people of every hue, ethnicity, age, gender, and religion who have come together for a common purpose.

Although I am still a fledgling activist, my transformation began on February 7, 2015, at the March For Real Climate Leadership in Oakland, California.

My spouse and I were part of a contingent from San Luis Obispo who had boarded a bus in the pouring rain at 6:30 that morning. It was our first time participating in a protest march with thousands of other people.

Sign for March for Real Climate Leadership in Oakland, CA on February 7, 2015Being a newbie, it did not occur to me that I needed a sign until after I got off the bus in Oakland.

Fortunately, a volunteer walked by and pointed out a collection of signs made by a group of artistic volunteers. The sign I selected must have had magical powers because as soon as I hefted it and waved it about I felt like an activist.

For those of you who cannot go to San Francisco (like me) look for an action closer to home or create your action (suggestions at the end of this post).

“When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.” —Pauline R. Kezer

Global Climate Action Summit

On June 1, 2017, President Trump announced that he was pulling the United States out of the Paris Agreement an international climate agreement adopted at the 2015 United Nations Framework on Climate Change. A month later, Governor Jerry Brown announced that the State of California would convene the world’s climate leaders in San Francisco in September 2018 for the Global Climate Action Summit.

“President Trump is trying to get out of the Paris Agreement, but he doesn’t speak for the rest of America. We in California and in states all across America believe it’s time to act, it’s time to join together and that’s why at this Climate Action Summit we’re going to get it done.” —Governor Jerry Brown (07/06/17 press release)

You can read about the Summit on the Global Climate Action Summit website.

Rise for Climate Global Day of Action

Long before email notices began appearing in my inbox a month or so ago, the Rise for Climate steering committee was already hard at work putting this global day of action together. 350.org is spearheading the event using their formidable Internet only organizing platform, but hundreds of local people and groups on five continents are doing the actual planning and organizing.

Climate change is not some amorphous future problem. It is already contributing to extreme heat, flooding, wildfires, pollution, and drought devastating the lives of people all over the world. Bureaucratic negotiations have been dragging on for decades and are not getting the job done.

People are mobilizing on September 8 to bring attention to the Global Climate Action Summit and to tell our state and local leaders that we need them to step up, now.

“We need every local government and institution to commit to building 100% renewable energy and stopping new dirty energy projects in their community. Anything less than that is out of line with what science and justice demand.”

You can find out about the San Francisco march and other actions around the world on the Rise for Climate website.

If You Cannot Be There, You Can Still Take Action

On September 8, I will be aboard the California Zephyr Amtrak train on my way to a visit Nebraska with two long-time friends so I cannot make it to San Francisco. However, I can still do something for the Rise for Climate global day of action and so can you even if you have to work that day, have already made other plans, or just cannot make it to San Francisco or a local event.

Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

  • Spread the word about the Rise for Climate global day of action.
  • Talk to your family, friends, and/or coworkers about climate change and renewable energy.
  • Write a letter or call one or more of your state or local elected officials asking them to stop new fossil fuel projects and support renewable energy projects.
  • Walk, bike, or take public transportation to a place you would normally drive.
  • Call a local solar installer to make an appointment to evaluate your roof for solar panels.
  • Display a Rise for Climate poster in a visible location.
  • Follow the action on September 8 and share it on social media.
  • Wear a t-shirt promoting renewable energy.
  • Have some friends over to watch a film about oil and natural gas fracking or mountaintop removal coal mining.
  • Write a letter to the editor about Rise for Climate and/or the Global Climate Action Summit.
My Rise for Climate Actions

This blog post is a means of spreading the word and I will be promoting it on social media.

If this letter to the editor of the San Luis Obispo Tribune makes it into the paper, I will update this post.

2018-08-30 Rise for Climate San Luis Obispo Tribune Letter to the Editor

I printed the above posters to display on the windows of my train compartment and I made the flyer with a template. I have extras in case I meet any like-minded people on the train. I am grateful to the Rise for Climate artists that create flyers, posters, signs, banners, and other pieces of art for us to use (you can find them on the Rise for Climate website here).

What are you doing to Rise for Climate?

“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” —Barack Obama

Update: The San Luis Obispo Tribune chose not to publish my letter. On the train, many people walking by my compartment at least looked at the posters including the Amtrak staff. I am a fan of train travel so using paper and markers provided by my friend, I made an “I heart trains” poster and taped it to my window.

Featured Image at Top: Rise for Climate signs ready for the San Francisco March on September 8, 2018 – Photo Credit 350.org on Flickr

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The Book of Joy – Book Review

Be your best self. Share the joy.

If you are a human being, The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World is for you.

The Book of Joy Book CoverYou might expect a book written by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu to be religious in nature (they do speak of their faith), but this book crosses all political, religious, and ethnic boundaries speaking to us as human beings living on Earth with other human beings. The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu embody kindness, courage, humility, compassion, and joy and they inspire us to be our best selves.

Not long ago, I had finished reading four excellent books for a post series about GMOs and bioengineered food and I still had one book to go. However, I found I just could not read another book right then about pesticides or corporate ownership of the food system.

I wanted to read something that would be uplifting and hopefully enlightening. Scrolling through my ever-growing “books to read” list, I spotted The Book of Joy and I thought, “Yes, this is the book that I need.”

It was.

Book Review

“No dark fate determines the future. We do. Each day and each moment, we are able to create and re-create our lives and the very quality of human life on our planet. That is the power we wield.” —The Book of Joy

The dialogue in The Book of Joy occurs between April 18 and April 24, 2015, when Archbishop Tutu traveled to Dharamsala, India to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s eightieth birthday and to engage in a multi-day conversation with him about joy.

The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu are both world-renowned spiritual leaders and Nobel Peace Prize Laureates who are rarely in the same place at the same time and may never be again so that week in April was a momentous occasion for the two of them and the world. Constantly surrounded by a film crew, they seemed to be able to ignore all the hubbub talking and teasing each other as if they were just two people having a conversation (which they were).

The Book of Joy covers the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu’s teachings on joy, the latest science on joy, and stories of being in Dharamsala that week.

Day 1 – The Nature of True Joy

From the beginning, the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu included all of us, the entire human population, in the conversation and reiterated repeatedly that we are all responsible for developing a happier more joyful world.

They expressed concern that today people focus too much on external, materialistic values and not enough on inner values like kindness and compassion and that unfortunately; this is what we are teaching our children.

Days 2 and 3 – The Obstacles to Joy

Two days were devoted to all the ways that human beings suffer from fear, stress, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness, grief, loneliness, envy, illness, and fear of death.

It might seem like it would be depressing or distressing to read these chapters, but the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu approach suffering from a different perspective and share how joy can coexist with suffering and that suffering may actually lead to unexpected joy.

Days 4 and 5 – The Eight Pillars of Joy

The last two days were devoted to talking about the foundation of joy including qualities of the mind: perspective, humility, humor, and acceptance and qualities of the heart: forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, and generosity.

“Ultimately, joy is not something to learn, it is something to live. And our greatest joy is lived in deep, loving, and generous relationships with others.” —The Book of Joy

The Bottom Line

The Book of Joy is a beautifully crafted work of inspiration, hope, and joy co-created by the three men listed on the book jacket and many people behind the scenes.

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of Tibet. Forced to flee Tibet in fear of his life, the Dalai Lama has been living in exile in Dharamsala, India since 1959. He has traveled all over the world advocating for non-violence, peace, inter-religious understanding, human rights, and compassion and has worked tirelessly for over fifty years to free Tibet from Chinese control.

Desmond Mpilo Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Southern Africa, was a leader in the decades-long crusade to end apartheid in South Africa and bring about reconciliation between the people. He is a staunch believer in non-violence, an outspoken campaigner for the oppressed, and a co-founder of The Elders, a group of global leaders working together for peace and human rights.

Douglas Abrams is an author, editor, and the founder of the literary agency Idea Architects.

The Book of Joy refreshed my spirit and reminded me that joy is available to every person every day.

Featured Image at Top: The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu blow out candles on a birthday cake during the Dali Lama’s 80th birthday celebration at the Tibetan Children’s Village School in Dharamsala, India on April 23, 2015. Photo by Tenzin Choejor/OHDL.

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