Global Public Willing to Sacrifice to Save Climate, What About Our Leaders?

Public willing to sacrifice for climateA new poll finds mllions of people around the world are willing to make personal sacrifices [ark] to help address climate change. EcoInternet has long noted there is little chance of addressing climate change and related global ecological crises without some degree of personal and societal sacrifice [search]. For this we have often been ridiculed and called naive — as many asserted there is no way the public would support this. A new BBC poll suggests otherwise [ark]. They found that substantial majorities in all countries (83% overall) are ready to make personal sacrifices in their lifestyle and behavior, including paying more for their energy, to help address climate change. And some 50% supported taxes on energy such as oil and coal — 77% if the revenues was used to promote energy efficiency or developing cleaner fuels. Approximately 22,000 people were polled across 21 countries.
Why are our leaders including Mr. Gore [search] not picking up on this sentiment and leading by example while asking for shared sacrifice to address climate change and achieve global ecological sustainability? Important personal sacrifices that need to be encouraged immediately are a willingness to pay more for renewable energy, to consume less and more equitably, and to have smaller families. Societally it is clear that clearing and burning — that is first-time logging of ancient forests and the burning of fossil fuels that emit into the atmosphere (particularly coal) — must end as soon as possible. Anyone that suggests that much of the world can continue to live wasteful excessive lifestyles (while the others aspire to do so) is either dangerously misinformed or a charlatan, and regardless, doing great harm to the Earth and humanity's prospects.

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14 Responses

  1. Chessia says:

    Thank you Dr. Barry. So many consumers are just waiting for the goverment to set an example and make going green an easy step, not a leap. Students in DC yesterday actually took the initiative to go down to the Hill yesterday for what they called “Power Shift 2007” and personally lobby for a bill that will do just that. The Congress is considering an energy bill that would, if passed in its entirety, create a standard of 35 mpg in cars by 2020 and a standard that 15% of electricity come from renewable resources by 2020. This would begin the process of weaning the USA off oil, help to stave off climate change, and quench the thirst of those millions of people that crave green. I urge you to sign the petition at in order to let our representatives know how much we are committed to the cause.

  2. David B. Benson says:

    On this matter we need someone with the rhetorical ability of a Winston Churchill.
    So far, has not shown up.

  3. I remain convinced that the work of Dr. Jack Alpert has not yet received the attention it deserves.
    Basically, his work calls out to the human community to immediately begin reversing the current trend of skyrocketing absolute global population numbers by implementing a program of rapid population decline. Rather than near exponential population expansion, he is advocating rapid population contraction.
    What his work indicates is the need for a worldwide, "ONE CHILD PER FAMILY" initiative. He is not the only person to be advocating such a plan of action. Alan Weisman, the author of The World Without Us, has come to precisely the same conclusion.
    Just for a moment, imagine that the a majority plus one of the human community accepted the idea that what we are doing now by adamantly advocating and relentlessly pursuing certain distinctly human overgrowth activities would eventually lead to the collapse of either human civilization or Earth's ecology or both. Let us also suppose that this majority plus one agreed that the ethical thing to do was not to keep doing what we are doing now, but something different. If having multiple human offspring was unethical and having not more than one child per family was ethical, in part because such a program of action would have survival value for the human species, its global economy, other species and the integrity of Earth, then it seems to me that humanity would naturally and democratically move in a new direction, along another path, perhaps to a good enough future for our children and generations to come.
    This perspective makes one thing crystal clear: if humankind chooses to follow the current primorse path of endless economic globalization, endless per human consumption and endless population expansion, a colossal wreckage of some kind is in offing.
    In light of the great work being done by the contributors to this discussion by the members of the EI community, I would like to ask humbly that you turn your attention to a website, one I presented some time ago.
    Once there, I would like to suggest that you begin by reviewing what Jack calls SKIL Notes. There are now 45 of them and they are mercifully short. These Notes show a certain careful and skillful development of thinking about resolving THE PROBLEM that presents itself to humanity now as the proverbial

  4. Patrick Troup says:

    People of Winston Churchill, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. in scope are here and rising. Soon my friends. Keeping following your heart and pursue our passion and truths. For in these times are current, we as a species will naturally come to the Earth's aid if we are in touch with ourselves. Inspire! be free! and Create the new World that is sustainable, healthy and prosperous for everything! We can create any future we want, it is only a matter of when we choose.
    Patrick Of The Earth

  5. Dear Friends,
    Sometimes it looks to me as if some of my brothers and sisters in the current generation of elders are so singlemindedly focused on the accumulation of wealth and power, in feathering their own gigantic nests, frequenting exclusive clubs, flying private jets, sailing yachts and visiting exotic hideaways, that they have forgotten how human life depends upon Earth's limited resources and frangible ecosystem services for its very existence.
    The "powers that be" have evidently failed to understand what it means when we say that the Earth is round, finite and has biophysical limits. One consequence of this pernicious denial of the requirements of practical reality is that the scale and rate of per capita consumption is dissipating natural resources faster than the Earth can restore them for human benefit. So great is per human overconsumption by a minority of people in our time that biodiversity is being extirpated and the environment degraded.
    Is the fulfillment of the insatiable wishes of unrestrained consumers a result of unbridled big business interests relentlessly pursuing a course of endless economic expansion, based upon the feckless consumption of the very resources needed for the survival of life as we know it?
    When my generation has completed its

  6. Clarissa Machendagoos says:

    Hi, Im Clarissa Machendagoos I Live In Vermillion Bay And Go To Lillian Berg And Im Doing A Speech On Global Warming….. I Understand That Its Not Are Fault But I Really Need tips On Ho Too Stop For Global Warming…
    Thank You!

  7. David B. Benson says:

    Clarissa — We simply must stop using fossil fuels, espeically coal, unless the carbon dioxide is safely and permanently sequestered.
    Alternative sources of energy include biofuels, wind and geothermal as well as other sources.

  8. !!!! APOLOGY !!!!
    Dear Young People,
    In behalf of many people in my not-so-great generation of leading elders, I want to humbly apologize to you for the many expressions of willful ignorance that are foisted upon you in our time by too many of today's leaders. It appears to me that at least one of the active exercises of The Willfully Ignorant among us is the use of clever rhetorical devices (e.g., outright lies, half-truths, spinning, disinformation, political posing, appeals to fantasy by presenting the illusory as if it was real) deployed by manipulative, irresponsible people who are bereft of the capacity for intellectual honesty.
    My generation has been called the Twisted Me Generation. "What's in it for me' is what matters most to most of us. What is going to be left for young people after we have devoured the lion's share of Earth's scarce resources is something we do NOT want to talk about.
    Be reminded of the words of a powerful political leader of my generation who was asked about the future. His words are still ringing in my ears: "We'll all be dead." Of course, no one questions his statement. His words are absolutely true. That he has no vision for the future is pitiful.
    He, I and our generation will be gone soon. What you see my generation doing to our planetary home now and what is to become of your generation (much less generations to come) after we are gone are apparently tabooed topics about which many too many leading elders among us are not willing to speak either openly or in an honest way.

  9. Dear Friends,
    Momentum is building. Many are the signs of forward movement and nascent change.
    We will overcome humanity's momentary collective blindness; our ineffectual leaders; the ignorant naysayers and rankled denialists; and the hysterically deaf, willfully blind and electively mute among us as well as those more clever ones who speak with forked tongues, who peddle disinformation, half-truths and outright lies.
    As intelligent fools with power often do, they widely disseminate and repeat false statements often enough so as to make them appear believable.
    Support Al Gore, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri and 2000 scientists of the IPCC.
    With their leadership, we can make a difference by changing the world for the better….before the “powers that be” destroy Earth as a fit place for human habitation.

  10. Dear Friends,
    Please consider that we need new approaches to the global challenges before humanity. Perhaps young people can help those in my generation of elders establish SUSTAINABLE LIVING CONDITIONS for themselves and coming generations.
    A "top-down" approach to making necessary behavior changes that could lead us to a sustainable way of living in the world is not working, at least not yet. If the top-down approach was going to work, we would see more evidence of change by this time. Even though the challenges before us are formidable and undeniable, many too many of our leaders have found effective ways of either consciously overlooking or otherwise avoiding them.
    As an example, "The AWAREness Campaign on the Human Population" has been in existence since 2001. In that time, the point of all its activities has been to gain the attention of the rich, powerful and famous at the top of the global political economy. The strategy has not accomplished much, except that someleaders now "see" the human predicament, even though they have resolutely refused to speak openly and honestly about it. Everywhere I have gone

  11. Paul Drake says:

    Dear Friends
    The big Question here is do our political leaders care enough about the environment? I havn't seen much evedence of this,however I have seen plenty of evedence of politicians serving the interests of big business even or espesially at the local level. I know that the cause of the problem is globalisation. You just have to look at who is on the payroll of the world Trade Organisation, are there any environmentalists? are there any unionists? Yet the WTO is laying down an agenda that effectively undermines democracy. (eg. It's proposals for the Multilateral Agreement on Investments.)
    What is the answer? Well I guess that organisations such as EcoInternet, Greenpeace and AVAAZ are heading in the right direction with their valuable contributions. I wuold like to stress that global petitions are very important. Can governments ignore them? To take the idea further an Internet Government? I would like to hear peoples reaction on that one.
    Yours Faithfully
    Paul Drake
    Lake Coleridge
    New Zealand

  12. Jane says:

    Being a young person who has given talks to hundred of teenagers in the western world on global warming, my sense is that hardly anyone wants to give up their comforts or the consumer way of life. These recent findings surprise me, and I'd take them with a grain of salt.
    The young people I present to often cannot see the problem with 6.5 billion people (and exponentially growing) living it up, indulging in short term pleasures day after day with little regard for the environment. But can you blame them, when their parents and teachers are inadvertently modelling this behaviour and selfish attitude? The consumer war of life is deeply ingrained in our culture and society.
    We need celebrities and respected peers to stand up and say 'Hey, I don't need the big macro-mansion, the hummer, the flights overseas….i'm trading it in for a simpler life that is richer and more joyous and has less impact on life on the planet'.
    I want to SEE more leaders, environmentalists and everyday people start to walk the talk.

  13. Dr. Glen Barry says:

    Thank you for this. I have written extensively in my personal essays entitled Earth Meanders at regarding just what you suggest, environmental leaders demonstrating sacrifice. Very important indeed.

  14. Jody Chapman says:

    It's great to read with interest everyone's comments. I really do believe it is really important that each and everyone of us does their bit for the environment. It's simply a poor show if we depend solely on governments to come with the anwsers. i recently came across a great site that is targetting the ordinary person with 2 initiatives that could make an amazing difference in the world. Funnily enough the superstar Madonna is the Patron of this not for profit community interest company (very similiar to a charity)… it must be good as I know she does not lend her name to any initiative. Take a look and see what you think.

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