Curtis Bard

Curtis Bard

"Bard's Delight" in the Beautiful Boston Hills Of, United States

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The Earth has a Fever: An Important Message About Our Future...

This message is so timely, so important, that I wanted to share it with all my RB friends and acquaintances. Yes, today our world is sick; sick in many ways, and now our world has a fever.

If I tried for the rest of my life I don’t think I could express my concerns about our global situation any better than Al Gore has done here. We need to personally, collectively, and actively begin to do our very best to discern what the Truth is concerning our relationship to each other, to our earth, and to our God.

Gore’s speech is rather long, but in my humble opinion almost each and every sentence has important meaning and the ring of truth, and should be a wake-up call for all of us.

All good people want to help and do whatever they can to make our world a better place, but the inevitable question arises: “What can I do?”

You can start by buying products that are clearly better for the environment and facilitate energy independence. You can start communicating your concerns to others and to your news agencies, and to your government representatives. You can confront and address your own inner conception of how our government and our citizens should react to coming threats and how we can work together to help each other. And you can apply subtle pressure on business and government to begin to accept a less selfish, less wasteful, and more w/holistically enlightened approach to social and economic problems and their potential solutions. And as difficult as it is, you can also start by addressing your own shortcomings as an individual, and by trying to be a little less selfish, a little less consumptive, a little less ego driven, and a little more concerned about the welfare of others and the proper stewardship of the earth.

Cast all fear aside and find just purpose and healthy development in this new opportunity for personal and spiritual growth.

If you have any helpful ideas or ways that the rest of us can start to live more appropriately and harmoniously with each other and with our environment, please pass them along and share them with the rest of us…
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Dear Curtis,

I wanted to share with you my speech from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony in Oslo. Check AlGore.com for video of the event later today.

Thank you,

Al Gore

SPEECH BY AL GORE ON THE ACCEPTANCE
OF THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE
DECEMBER 10, 2007
OSLO, NORWAY
Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Honorable members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Excellencies, Ladies and gentlemen.

I have a purpose here today. It is a purpose I have tried to serve for many years. I have prayed that God would show me a way to accomplish it.

Sometimes, without warning, the future knocks on our door with a precious and painful vision of what might be. One hundred and nineteen years ago, a wealthy inventor read his own obituary, mistakenly published years before his death. Wrongly believing the inventor had just died, a newspaper printed a harsh judgment of his life’s work, unfairly labeling him “The Merchant of Death” because of his invention – dynamite. Shaken by this condemnation, the inventor made a fateful choice to serve the cause of peace.

Seven years later, Alfred Nobel created this prize and the others that bear his name.

Seven years ago tomorrow, I read my own political obituary in a judgment that seemed to me harsh and mistaken – if not premature. But that unwelcome verdict also brought a precious if painful gift: an opportunity to search for fresh new ways to serve my purpose.

Unexpectedly, that quest has brought me here. Even though I fear my words cannot match this moment, I pray what I am feeling in my heart will be communicated clearly enough that those who hear me will say, “We must act.”

The distinguished scientists with whom it is the greatest honor of my life to share this award have laid before us a choice between two different futures – a choice that to my ears echoes the words of an ancient prophet: “Life or death, blessings or curses. Therefore, choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.”

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency – a threat to the survival of our civilization that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst – though not all – of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly.

However, despite a growing number of honorable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: “They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.”

So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun.

As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong.

We are what is wrong, and we must make it right.

Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is “falling off a cliff.” One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years.

Seven years from now.

In the last few months, it has been harder and harder to misinterpret the signs that our world is spinning out of kilter. Major cities in North and South America, Asia and Australia are nearly out of water due to massive droughts and melting glaciers. Desperate farmers are losing their livelihoods. Peoples in the frozen Arctic and on low-lying Pacific islands are planning evacuations of places they have long called home. Unprecedented wildfires have forced a half million people from their homes in one country and caused a national emergency that almost brought down the government in another. Climate refugees have migrated into areas already inhabited by people with different cultures, religions, and traditions, increasing the potential for conflict. Stronger storms in the Pacific and Atlantic have threatened whole cities. Millions have been displaced by massive flooding in South Asia, Mexico, and 18 countries in Africa. As temperature extremes have increased, tens of thousands have lost their lives. We are recklessly burning and clearing our forests and driving more and more species into extinction. The very web of life on which we depend is being ripped and frayed.

We never intended to cause all this destruction, just as Alfred Nobel never intended that dynamite be used for waging war. He had hoped his invention would promote human progress. We shared that same worthy goal when we began burning massive quantities of coal, then oil and methane.

Even in Nobel’s time, there were a few warnings of the likely consequences. One of the very first winners of the Prize in chemistry worried that, “We are evaporating our coal mines into the air.” After performing 10,000 equations by hand, Svante Arrhenius calculated that the earth’s average temperature would increase by many degrees if we doubled the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

Seventy years later, my teacher, Roger Revelle, and his colleague, Dave Keeling, began to precisely document the increasing CO2 levels day by day.

But unlike most other forms of pollution, CO2 is invisible, tasteless, and odorless — which has helped keep the truth about what it is doing to our climate out of sight and out of mind. Moreover, the catastrophe now threatening us is unprecedented – and we often confuse the unprecedented with the improbable.

We also find it hard to imagine making the massive changes that are now necessary to solve the crisis. And when large truths are genuinely inconvenient, whole societies can, at least for a time, ignore them. Yet as George Orwell reminds us: “Sooner or later a false belief bumps up against solid reality, usually on a battlefield.”

In the years since this prize was first awarded, the entire relationship between humankind and the earth has been radically transformed. And still, we have remained largely oblivious to the impact of our cumulative actions.

Indeed, without realizing it, we have begun to wage war on the earth itself. Now, we and the earth’s climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: “Mutually assured destruction.”

More than two decades ago, scientists calculated that nuclear war could throw so much debris and smoke into the air that it would block life-giving sunlight from our atmosphere, causing a “nuclear winter.” Their eloquent warnings here in Oslo helped galvanize the world’s resolve to halt the nuclear arms race.

Now science is warning us that if we do not quickly reduce the global warming pollution that is trapping so much of the heat our planet normally radiates back out of the atmosphere, we are in danger of creating a permanent “carbon summer.”

As the American poet Robert Frost wrote, “Some say the world will end in fire; some say in ice.” Either, he notes, “would suffice.”

But neither need be our fate. It is time to make peace with the planet.

We must quickly mobilize our civilization with the urgency and resolve that has previously been seen only when nations mobilized for war. These prior struggles for survival were won when leaders found words at the 11th hour that released a mighty surge of courage, hope and readiness to sacrifice for a protracted and mortal challenge.

These were not comforting and misleading assurances that the threat was not real or imminent; that it would affect others but not ourselves; that ordinary life might be lived even in the presence of extraordinary threat; that Providence could be trusted to do for us what we would not do for ourselves.

No, these were calls to come to the defense of the common future. They were calls upon the courage, generosity and strength of entire peoples, citizens of every class and condition who were ready to stand against the threat once asked to do so. Our enemies in those times calculated that free people would not rise to the challenge; they were, of course, catastrophically wrong.

Now comes the threat of climate crisis – a threat that is real, rising, imminent, and universal. Once again, it is the 11th hour. The penalties for ignoring this challenge are immense and growing, and at some near point would be unsustainable and unrecoverable. For now we still have the power to choose our fate, and the remaining question is only this: Have we the will to act vigorously and in time, or will we remain imprisoned by a dangerous illusion?

Mahatma Gandhi awakened the largest democracy on earth and forged a shared resolve with what he called “Satyagraha” – or “truth force.”

In every land, the truth – once known – has the power to set us free.

Truth also has the power to unite us and bridge the distance between “me” and “we,” creating the basis for common effort and shared responsibility.

There is an African proverb that says, “If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We need to go far, quickly.

We must abandon the conceit that individual, isolated, private actions are the answer. They can and do help. But they will not take us far enough without collective action. At the same time, we must ensure that in mobilizing globally, we do not invite the establishment of ideological conformity and a new lock-step “ism.”

That means adopting principles, values, laws, and treaties that release creativity and initiative at every level of society in multifold responses originating concurrently and spontaneously.

This new consciousness requires expanding the possibilities inherent in all humanity. The innovators who will devise a new way to harness the sun’s energy for pennies or invent an engine that’s carbon negative may live in Lagos or Mumbai or Montevideo. We must ensure that entrepreneurs and inventors everywhere on the globe have the chance to change the world.

When we unite for a moral purpose that is manifestly good and true, the spiritual energy unleashed can transform us. The generation that defeated fascism throughout the world in the 1940s found, in rising to meet their awesome challenge, that they had gained the moral authority and long-term vision to launch the Marshall Plan, the United Nations, and a new level of global cooperation and foresight that unified Europe and facilitated the emergence of democracy and prosperity in Germany, Japan, Italy and much of the world. One of their visionary leaders said, “It is time we steered by the stars and not by the lights of every passing ship.”

In the last year of that war, you gave the Peace Prize to a man from my hometown of 2000 people, Carthage, Tennessee. Cordell Hull was described by Franklin Roosevelt as the “Father of the United Nations.” He was an inspiration and hero to my own father, who followed Hull in the Congress and the U.S. Senate and in his commitment to world peace and global cooperation.

My parents spoke often of Hull, always in tones of reverence and admiration. Eight weeks ago, when you announced this prize, the deepest emotion I felt was when I saw the headline in my hometown paper that simply noted I had won the same prize that Cordell Hull had won. In that moment, I knew what my father and mother would have felt were they alive.

Just as Hull’s generation found moral authority in rising to solve the world crisis caused by fascism, so too can we find our greatest opportunity in rising to solve the climate crisis. In the Kanji characters used in both Chinese and Japanese, “crisis” is written with two symbols, the first meaning “danger,” the second “opportunity.” By facing and removing the danger of the climate crisis, we have the opportunity to gain the moral authority and vision to vastly increase our own capacity to solve other crises that have been too long ignored.

We must understand the connections between the climate crisis and the afflictions of poverty, hunger, HIV-Aids and other pandemics. As these problems are linked, so too must be their solutions. We must begin by making the common rescue of the global environment the central organizing principle of the world community.

Fifteen years ago, I made that case at the “Earth Summit” in Rio de Janeiro. Ten years ago, I presented it in Kyoto. This week, I will urge the delegates in Bali to adopt a bold mandate for a treaty that establishes a universal global cap on emissions and uses the market in emissions trading to efficiently allocate resources to the most effective opportunities for speedy reductions.

This treaty should be ratified and brought into effect everywhere in the world by the beginning of 2010 – two years sooner than presently contemplated. The pace of our response must be accelerated to match the accelerating pace of the crisis itself.

Heads of state should meet early next year to review what was accomplished in Bali and take personal responsibility for addressing this crisis. It is not unreasonable to ask, given the gravity of our circumstances, that these heads of state meet every three months until the treaty is completed.

We also need a moratorium on the construction of any new generating facility that burns coal without the capacity to safely trap and store carbon dioxide.

And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon — with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.

The world needs an alliance – especially of those nations that weigh heaviest in the scales where earth is in the balance. I salute Europe and Japan for the steps they’ve taken in recent years to meet the challenge, and the new government in Australia, which has made solving the climate crisis its first priority.

But the outcome will be decisively influenced by two nations that are now failing to do enough: the United States and China. While India is also growing fast in importance, it should be absolutely clear that it is the two largest CO2 emitters — most of all, my own country –– that will need to make the boldest moves, or stand accountable before history for their failure to act.

Both countries should stop using the other’s behavior as an excuse for stalemate and instead develop an agenda for mutual survival in a shared global environment.

These are the last few years of decision, but they can be the first years of a bright and hopeful future if we do what we must. No one should believe a solution will be found without effort, without cost, without change. Let us acknowledge that if we wish to redeem squandered time and speak again with moral authority, then these are the hard truths:

The way ahead is difficult. The outer boundary of what we currently believe is feasible is still far short of what we actually must do. Moreover, between here and there, across the unknown, falls the shadow.

That is just another way of saying that we have to expand the boundaries of what is possible. In the words of the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado, “Pathwalker, there is no path. You must make the path as you walk.”

We are standing at the most fateful fork in that path. So I want to end as I began, with a vision of two futures – each a palpable possibility – and with a prayer that we will see with vivid clarity the necessity of choosing between those two futures, and the urgency of making the right choice now.

The great Norwegian playwright, Henrik Ibsen, wrote, “One of these days, the younger generation will come knocking at my door.”

The future is knocking at our door right now. Make no mistake, the next generation will ask us one of two questions. Either they will ask: “What were you thinking; why didn’t you act?”

Or they will ask instead: “How did you find the moral courage to rise and successfully resolve a crisis that so many said was impossible to solve?”

We have everything we need to get started, save perhaps political will, but political will is a renewable resource.

So let us renew it, and say together: “We have a purpose. We are many. For this purpose we will rise, and we will act.”

Comments

  • H Maria Perry
    H Maria Perryover 7 years ago

    Thank you so much for submitting this to Current Issues. I was very happy to approve it and to read the text of the speech. I think that it is outstanding that Mr. Vice President Gore won the Prize. Highly unlikely Bush will win anything except a booby prize!

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    Thanks for approving it! IMHO it’s very important that we begin to awaken to the things we are doing wrong, and begin to right them. It’s time for good people to unite globally – for a good cause. We might just end up with a better world. Thanks again!

  • helene
    heleneover 7 years ago

    Thanks so much for sharing this Curtis!

  • Dave Sandersfeld
    Dave Sandersfeldover 7 years ago

    Curtis, well done.
    i am very concerned too about obvious climate change. I have been working on projects in Alaska since 1970s and last year i saw the historic frozen tundra burning! The peat dried out and burned underground 10-feet to the sand layer?
    However, everyone is beating each other up; but people are the cumulative problem over all. However, This is a much narrow focus we all need to watch. Right now, There are very few people in Congress, financed by the old coal & Oil Industry, that are doing everything they can think of to stop Americans from changing our historic dependence on coal and oil!

    I call this criminal or treasonous in that these few are selling out the American/World people and those wildlife that can’t vote or protest, to a ’foriegn power". It is not a country or war machine; but extremely well financed by traditional economics. There shallow greed is selling out future generations Quality of life!

    All Americans need to find out if their Congressmen are the problem; bush will be gone in a year.

    Henry David Thoreau reminds us to strike at the root of social injustice and not thrash at it’s leaves.

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    How true Dave.

    Many enlightened individuals agree with what you are saying, and believe that the hardest part of the fight ahead won’t be determining what steps are necessary, or even bringing global citizens together to address the necessary changes, but rather will be prying the power out of the hands of greedy, arrogant politicians and businessmen who have their own selfish and self-centered agenda at heart instead of the good of the world and its people.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments…

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    Ok Dave,
    Good luck with all your environmental efforts.
    Keep the faith and keep up the good work.

    No question that we are all going to need dedicated people like you in the near future. Let’s hope many of the problems can be fixed in time, so that we don’t have even more problems.

    Check this link out (below) that just came in today. Some serious allegations and harsh steps are being advocated by some citizens of the US and the world, concerning the topics you and I have just recently been discussing.

    http://artofmentalwarfare.com/pog/

    If actions are necessary such as are delineated in this article then things are bound to get much worse before they get any better because of the obstacles created by greed, self-interest, and unscrupulous people in places of power and influence.

    I myself, am hoping for what some people call an “Orange Revolution” (a relatively peaceful shift in perspective and change brought on by the concerted will and the collective efforts of inspired and enlightened individuals, who are able to see and reveal the truth, and work together for healthy spiritual and social progress.)

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    CURTIS: I’ am with you – technology evolution or orange Revolution! I am just glad people are starting to talk about; as I have been seeing it evolve over decades. I credit people like you and Al Gore.

    I am not a politician. Animals need help too! Besides it sa way to lower my carbon print and make a living i feel good about?

    If I can help let me know! I peppered my bubble with photos of helping watersheds and avoiding droughts around the world. Maybe people will get a clue? oregon is a natural classroom!
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    Ok Dave,
    Sounds good to me! If we can believe them, some people are saying that if we have the right attitude and concern for the environment a lot of other important things will automatically fall into place. Let’s hope so.

    I was up your way recently on a trip to the Pacific Northwest and then on to Alaska…

    Beautiful country.

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    Sophia,
    Re: Al Gore…
    I’ll accept his word as true, until I learn differently. let’s hope thie conspiracy theories are wrong and what Gore represents as his goals and aspirations are really what he believes and what he seeks to accomplish for the good of the earth.

    I agree that it is sometimes difficult to know what the truth is, and who is telling the truth: who is sincere. And I also agree that we don’t need a group of self-serving, money & power-centered elitists wrongly determining our policy and future.

    Many enlightened individuals believe that the hardest part of the fight ahead won’t be determining what steps are necessary, or even bringing global citizens together to address the necessary changes, but rather the hardest part will be prying the power out of the hands of greedy, arrogant politicians and businessmen who have their own selfish and self-centered agendas at heart instead of the good of the world and its people.

    Having said that, I Personally believe that Al Gore is sincere.

    I guess we, as good, sincere, concerned, and honest people, must do our best and see how all this shakes out.

    We don’t need an elitist new world order, but we do need a new world of law and order. There undoubtedly will be significant differences of opinion about how to achieve proper goals that truly serve the needs of all the people of the world.

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    Sophia,
    Re your comment: “……….we need a revolution!!”
    -

    How did the beatles song go…:
    We all want a revolution?

    Let’s hope that like in the Ukraine, we can have an Orange Revolution – a non-violent peaceful revolution of the heart, mind, and spirit. A “revolution of realization” that on this earth we are all One Family and that we should treat each other accordingly.

  • Curtis Bard
    Curtis Bardover 7 years ago

    Yes, that is a nice Utopian idea…
    -—-

    Utopian from man’s view…

    The paradigm of Truth from an enlightened, inspired, or transcendent viewpoint. All is One. Everything is connected, and in one way or another, interdependent. Each is a part of a greater whole. God is within us and we are within Him.

    Try to understand and to appreciate the huge diversity of Life and the Oneness of Life.
    Join Us.