If you haven't seen today's release of the new IPCC climate report, let us quickly summarize: UN Secretary General António Guterres said the report "is a code red for humanity."
But even without seeing the report, many of us in the Ipsun community already knew this. The report reiterates what so many of us have been shouting from the rooftops: time is up and the climate emergency is upon us, but if we act immediately and boldly we can avoid the worst, most apocalyptic outcome.
For those who were already experiencing climate anxiety, grief or stress, this IPCC report is enough to push you past your limit. Climate scientist Emily Atkin's recent Hot Takes newsletter had a helpful viewpoint on this. She said, "This news is not for you."
Atkin said the report is good for jolting people who aren't already stressed and scared, or who didn't know how dire the situation is. But if you're already a climate warrior, then she suggests you take some deep breaths, do whatever you need to do to take care of yourself, and stay the course.
The very best advice today came from Tiziana Bottino, head of the Prince William Climate Action Network: "Eat some chocolate zucchini bread and call your senator."
We hope Tiziana's chocolate zucchini bread will inspire you to call your legislators. Recipe link below!
Bill McKibben, founder of the climate movement 350.org, urged people today to get involved and push legislators to take bold action to stop the burning of fossil fuels.
"The IPCC is best understood as a lighthouse trying to pierce the smokescreen thrown up by the fossil fuel industry. For a day the light shines through; the job of movements is to extend that day," he said.
To that end, we'll post several important local actions you can take this week, one at a time. Let's start today with the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Natural gas pipelines emit methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases. Methane can warm the planet 80 times as much as the same amount of carbon dioxide over a 20-year period if it escapes the atmosphere without being burned, as it does in pipeline leaks.
Monday morning over 100 activists stopped construction on the MVP, and ten people locked themselves to equipment. You can follow this story and learn more on Twitter at @stopthemvp.
Water protectors built structures depicting species threatened by the MVP which activists used to chain themselves to the machinery.
You can also learn more and take action on the MVP through the Virginia Sierra Club website:
Stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline. Sign on to this petition to tell the Biden administration you demand immediate action to halt construction of a massive 42-inch fracked-gas pipeline that is devastating over 300 miles of land across West Virginia, Virginia and threatens the same in North Carolina.
The Mountain Valley Pipeline has already been fined millions of dollars for damage to pristine waterways, private and public lands. If completed, it will, in addition to this environmental devastation, transport extraordinary amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, creating a huge increase in greenhouse emissions just from this one project.
Call Your Senator
If you live in Virginia and want to tell your Senator your thoughts about the MVP, here's the number for the Capitol switchboard: (202) 224-3121. You can just call and tell them you'd like to talk to Senator Kaine or Senator Warner and they'll connect you to their office staff.
There are a lot of great articles we've read today about the IPCC report--here are just a few we thought were good to read when you're ready:
Overview of the report from the Washington Post: Humans have pushed the climate into ‘unprecedented’ territory, landmark U.N. report finds
Scientists break down their reading of the report, from Grist: What scientists are saying about the intergovernmental climate report
Why bipartisanship and cooperation won't get us there fast enough, from the New Republic: Playing Nice With the Fossil Fuel Industry Is Climate Denial
Stay tuned for more actions and info this week. Reach out if you have thoughts, questions, or want to talk about ways to gain hope through action. And in the mean time, enjoy the chocolate zucchini bread!