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Awakening Global Consciousness With Cleantech Activism

CleanTech activism was everywhere in a week of revelations about energy and decision we’re making around the world to fight anthropogenic climate change.

Awakening global consciousness is an incremental and often frustrating process. Uncertainty due to instability in economic, governmental, political, environmental, and healthcare models can make us feel emotions that range anywhere from discouraged to distraught — to angry and ready to act. A shift in consciousness is taking place across the world as various societal structures prompt us to think about the ways that each of us can make a difference. Maybe those shifts in what we had once considered to be a natural flow, a give-and-take cycle of progress, have been interrupted. Or maybe a confluence of scientific, ancient, and spiritual knowledge is making us wake up and realize that our difficult current climate requires individual contributions and activism.

Regardless of the reasons that we’ve arrived here, we’re taking more notice than ever before. We’re coming to a place in which greater realizations are growing out of our authentic experiences. We’re taking the feelings that result from our dismay and recognizing that we need to change the contemporary regressive political and frequently environmentally reductive era in which we live. We’re just not going to take it anymore. Consciousness, which is an awareness of how we function as beings and how humanity interprets our world, can help us to see things from new perspectives.

global cleantech

Awakening Global Consciousness: Oil Gushes Out of Keystone Pipeline

Take, for example, the news that came from TransCanada, which shut down its Keystone tar sands oil pipeline from Alberta all the way down to Cushing, Oklahoma, after discovering a leak about three miles southeast of Amherst, South Dakota. A total of 210,000 gallons of oil leaked, and crews shut down the pipeline Thursday, November 16, 2017, while investigating the cause of the leak. A spokesperson for the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Brian Walsh, acknowledged that this is the largest Keystone oil spill to date in South Dakota. The leak happened mere days before Nebraska officials make recommendations as to whether a companion project will move forward.

What kind of reactions emerged from the announcement that the Keystone tar sand oil pipeline was leaking?

◊ In response, Sierra Club Beyond Dirty Fuels campaign director Kelly Martin released the following statement: “We’ve always said it’s not a question of whether a pipeline will spill, but when, and today TransCanada is making our case for us. This is not the first time TransCanada’s pipeline has spilled toxic tar sands, and it won’t be the last. The PSC must take note: there is no such thing as a safe tar sands pipeline, and the only way to protect Nebraska communities from more tar sands spills is to say no to Keystone XL.”

◊ Marshall County landowner Kent Moeckly, a farmer just north of where the oil leak happened and who has pipeline underneath his property, spoke out about the leakage. “Well, it’s like the other shoe dropping. We were told by a lot of people that when TransCanada put this thing in the ground that the conditions, it was sloppy, wet conditions, and they just drove it in ’cause in a hurry, time is money.”

Politicians Move Past Trump’s Intransigence & Target Coal Elimination Strategies

At the COP23 climate conference in Bonn, Germany, Canada, and the UK announced that they are spearheading a global alliance to phase out the use of coal completely. Mexico, France, Finland, New Zealand, Italy, and other countries are expected to sign up, as well as at least 20 other entities including U.S. states, Canadian provinces, and businesses.

Who else is speaking out as activists against coal and its global greenhouse effects?

◊ The Powering Past Coal declaration states that countries who commit to coal elimination will work together to share real-world examples and best practices to support the phase-out of coal, including through climate financing, and to adopt practical initiatives to support this transition, including developing clean energy plans and targets.

◊ The Netherlands has joined the Powering Past Coal Alliance and calls on its new government to adhere to strict coal elimination goals for 2030.

World Scientists Join Together and Prompt Awakening Global Consciousness through Taking Action

The Alliance of World Scientists suggested 13 steps humanity can take to avert an existential crisis. Ecologist William Ripple of Oregon State University was lead writer of the narrative, which was published in BioScience. “Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse. Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory.”

What’s being done to increase global awareness about anthropogenic climate change?

◊ The Alliance of World Scientists has disseminated the following offer: “If you are a scientist from any scientific discipline (e.g. ecology, medicine, economics, etc.), we invite you to endorse our Viewpoint article in the journal Bioscience entitled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: a second notice” by Ripple et al. (2017).”

Project Drawdown describes when and how humanity can reach climate drawdown, the point at which greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere begin to decline. They’ve designed a challenge to meet that drawdown goal through ideas that scale climate solutions through new ventures, use design thinking, and incorporate business planning.

Tesla is Awakening Global Awareness of Heavy Hauler Emissions through Its New Semi

Tesla has finally revealed its plan to produce a class 8 heavy hauler Semi. The Tesla Semi prototype, with its aerodynamic fairings and electric engine, is predicted to drive the cost-per-mile below that of today’s fossil fuel-powered machines. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who made the cover of the Rolling Stone on November 15, 2017, said that a standard diesel truck would be 20% more expensive to operate than a Tesla truck: $1.26 per mile compared to $1.51 per mile. Tesla marketing calls this “Badass Performance” and suggests that the Semi will be “quickest” of all the big rigs in acceleration—from zero to 60 mph in 20 seconds, fully loaded, and up the grades.

What’s the reaction to the Tesla Semi announcement been like for awakening global awareness of long haul transportation at a time in which 70% of U.S. consumer goods are shipped by truck?

◊ The markets responded favorably to the Semi reveal, with Tesla shares jumping as much as 4% in early trading the day following the announcement.

◊ J.B. Hunt Transport Services announced that it had reserved a number of the Tesla Semis, which will be part of the 600-800 trucks the company intends to add to its fleet in 2018.

◊ Even Wal-Mart, that monstrous retailer, has revealed it is planning to test Tesla’s electric semi-tractor-trailer and has pre-ordered fifteen. The trucks are destined for both the U.S. and Canadian regions.

.Earth Domain Continues Reforestation Initiative

Interlink Co., Ltd. celebrated the two-year anniversary of the public launch of the .Earth top-level domain (TLD) by pledging to make a real-world impact through planting one tree for each new .Earth domain name that is registered online. The .Earth partnership with mossy.Earth is part of a carbon offsetting initiative. Yes, they recognize, most of our daily activities generate CO2 emissions. But our decisions about how we commute, how much we travel, and the events we attend can increase this dramatically. The company tries to help us reduce our footprint with a variety of solutions to suit different needs. And .Earth, a social enterprise whose aim is to deliver environmental change and make a positive impact on the state of the planet’s wildernesses and forests, is generating positive project results:

The Faia Brava Rewilding Project on the Coa Valley:  The reforestation efforts will focus on creating a mosaic of tree copses to provide habitats and shade for wildlife while also re-enforcing water lines;

◊ Vale de Moses: By rewilding the river valley and the valley hillside, the project seeks to demonstrate, by example, the long-term value of rewilding in an area dominated by mono-culture cash crops such as the eucalyptus and the acacia trees; and,

◊ Montis Summer Wildfires: What should be a thriving oak woodland is a now a green desert. This project aims to develop sustainable land management practices to deal with the ravenous Portuguese summer wildfires.

Effects of Cleantech Activism on Awakening Global Awareness

In the last decade or so, we’ve seen a shift in how the human ego drives our worlds. Starting with our daily lives and local knowledge, we’re questioning previously-accepted notions of who we think we are, why we allow separation between peoples, what the effects of competition are on our collective health, and how power is negotiated. Lots of us are coming to the realization that our essential selves are part of a collective well-being.

Acknowledging the role of CleanTech can keep us connected to innovation and change while we also accept a shift from a sense of the individual as all. We are elevating our sense of knowing our worlds through keener perceptions of the self and others, reassessing priorities, identifying beliefs, and examining our world with new filters. Sure, maybe the momentum starts with choosing a domain that plants a tree. Or it could be much larger, as fighting to eliminate fossil fuels entirely from our lives. But, whatever the degree of activism, there’s hope. Philosopher Rebecca Solnit reminds us that the future is unknowable — and that’s a good thing. Why? Because it creates space for creative intervention.

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Written By

Carolyn Fortuna (they, them), Ph.D., is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla. Please follow Carolyn on Twitter and Facebook.


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