As important an issue that it is, the discussions of Climate Change in the media are generally out of reach of the average person, let alone the many who are dealing with the daily struggles of survival. Health issues, family, job loss, housing, education, financial issues and the economy in general all tend to push this discussion out into the distant future. How does it resonate with the many under-served in our population, i.e.: those challenged with handicaps or English as a second language?
This is a much bigger issue that will affect all of us. It is an issue that needs to be talked about at all levels of our society. As the global population pushes towards the 7 Billion people mark (http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html) and our natural resources rapidly depleting (http://record.wustl.edu/news/page/normal/12786.html), the next generations, our children, will be left with a world that cannot sustain the growth that it has over the past century. And with global warming accelerating the loss of the arctic ice sheet (http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/10/091015-arctic-ice-free-gone-global-warming.html) there will be catastrophic climate changes that will affect every man, woman and child on this planet. We can’t ignore it.
How do we engage the vast majority of the population in this conversation? This story needs to be told at all levels of the educational system. This is not one semester of science or world history, this is about changes in the way we live, work and play. Government needs to back major initiatives for change. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce needs to support climate legislation in Congress. The media needs to give access to NGOs and other organizations involved in the environment, climate change and education to help communicate the challenges in very simple, easy to understand terms. The investment community needs to step up and back more clean tech and alternative energy projects. Big business needs to realize that making a profit while damaging the environment is bad business, and not sustainable.
How about the entertainment industries where we worship the excesses of our society? The millionaire celebrities with multiple gas-guzzlers, extravagant mansions and lifestyles that promote waste and careless neglect for our environment? There is an opportunity here to reach the masses by telling the story in entertaining but meaningful ways.
We cannot wait for new scientific developments, the next miracle energy source. Climate Change means WE HAVE TO CHANGE. And if we don’t, the world we leave to our children will be more challenging than the one we are living in today.