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Stepping Into the Water August 28, 2009

Posted by Morgan in Katrina, obama to copenhagen, tcktcktck.
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As I carried the rooftop down the grassy slope and stepped into the reflecting pool, committing civil disobedience, I felt an overwhelming sense of relief.  ‘Today, right now, I’m doing everything I can to call for climate solutions.’

The days of planning, the nights of building collapsible roof structures and a giant banner all faded as I floated my roof into place, framing my message below the symbols of America’s greatness.  “Help, the water is rising”  Lincoln, sitting on your chair looking at the scene, what would you do?  The George Washington Memorial, surveying the city looking down at us from above – what do you think of the coming storms?

I remember the turmoil of hurricane Katrina four years ago, watching from afar.  I was aware of the size of the storm, but I had no idea how far the destruction would reach because no one expected the levees to break and the entire city to flood.  That surprising level of destruction, both of human life and the property of an entire city, is the memory that we now have of Katrina.

I also remember how hurricane Katrina catapulted climate change into the public consciousness.  (mandatory footnote: no one weather event can be attributed to climate change, but increased intensity and weaker coastlines are direct climate effects.)

Time is running out.  The clock is tck-tck-tcking.  There are only 100 days until Copenhagen.  That is our chance, as global civic society, to agree on a plan for human safety and security in the face of crisis.

Just as the federal agencies assigned to protect residents of New Orleans failed in the aftermath of Katrina, our government is failing us now in addressing climate change.  The bright, critical spotlight of public consciousness was turned on FEMA in the aftermath, pointing out the million areas of incompetence and shortsightedness.  But imagine what we will look like, 10 or 20 years into the future.  They’re going to call this the age of stupid if we don’t exercise our power as citizens to demand action.

The alarm needs to be raised, the church bells need to ring, the fire whistles need to sound and people like you and me should be taking to the streets.  Al Gore calls on young people to engage in civil disobedience to stop coal plants, but won’t put himself on the line.  Thomas Friedman accuses youth of sitting on Facebook instead of taking action.  Well Mr Friedman, get out from behind your articles and books and take to the streets yourself.

Global warming has been the primary issue for me for four years, since about when Katrina slammed into New Orleans.  There’s been a lot of frustration, but I feel that we are close to a big turning point, a point of global consciousness.  Our common need for security brings us together in common cause, whether it is our homes at risk of storm, our children’s health in danger of pollution or our national security threatened by turmoil.

I don’t claim to speak for the residents of the Gulf Coast.  But I recognize that hurricane Katrina is a point of reference for all Americans, giving us all a taste of the cost of climate inaction.

Today is a day of reflection, both on tragedy, but we must also remember the bravery of the heroes.  Countless New Orleans residents made self-less sacrifices for their communities.  Barack Obama has made quiet but significant progress on rebuilding New Orleans and restoring the Gulf Coast, although we have a lot of work left to go.  I’ve also been thinking about the legacy of Ted Kennedy, who spent 40 years defending the ideals of liberals, defending the poor and the underprivileged.

On this day of reflection, this turning point, what are you doing to turn the tables for climate solutions?  How are you pushing the boundaries?  I’ll be making sure ALL my friends see this amazing photo and pass it on to their friends because I’m pretty psyched with how it turned out.

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Youth Pressure Obama to Stop the Next Katrina, Stop Global Warming August 27, 2009

Posted by Morgan in copenhagen, Katrina, tcktcktck.
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Climate Advocates Call on the President to Reflect and Take Action on the Fourth Anniversary of Katrina

WASHINGTON, D.C. — International climate activists floated two roof tops in the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool early Thursday afternoon in anticipation of the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. One of the roofs read, “HELP—The Water Is Rising.” The 30 ft. banner behind the roofs declared, “Prevent the Next Katrina, Restore the Gulf, Stop Global Warming.”

Saturday’s anniversary of Katrina’s landfall coincides with the 100-day countdown to the much anticipated Copenhagen climate negotiations.

“Needless to say, many New Orleanians have placed their hopes in Barack Obama. We see the effects of man-made disaster every day. Climate change is the number one long-term threat to life facing New Orleans.” said Esquizito, a New Orleans jazz and blues performer and Katrina survivor working with the climate advocates. “We’re all waiting for President Obama’s leadership,” he said.

Katrina made landfall in southeast Louisiana on August 29th, 2005. 80 percent of New Orleans was under water and at least 1,836 people lost their lives, making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in the history of the United States.

The group of concerned youth called attention to the anniversary of Katrina and the necessity of bold US leadership at the UN climate negotiations in Copenhagen this December to pass a fair, ambitious, and binding global treaty that will prevent environmental disasters of the catastrophic magnitude of Katrina in the future. According to the climate advocates, a fair, ambitious, and binding treaty includes full funding for international adaptation, so that vulnerable areas can adapt to climate threats.

A statement by the Pew Center for Global Climate Change further expresses the link between Katrina and global warming: “It would be scientifically unsound to conclude that Katrina was not intensified by global warming. A reasonable assessment of the science suggests that we will face similar events again and that powerful storms are likely to happen more often than we have been accustomed to in the past.”

Hurricane Katrina: Pushing us to act faster on Climate Change August 26, 2009

Posted by Morgan in Katrina, tcktcktck.
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mississippi coast
Four years ago this Saturday, Hurricane Katrina slammed into the United States, killing at least 1836 people and shaking the foundations of our country. Dr. Kerry Emanuel reports that if Katrina had occurred in 1980, the levees would have held. But global warming increases ocean temperature, increases storm intensity, and threatens America with more super-storms.

There’s a lot of talk in the news this week about national security and the risks posed by global warming, both domestically and abroad. In light of a recent typhoon, Taiwan’s military has ranked climate change as its biggest national threat and is re-organizing some military operations accordingly.

Pacific island states have upped their call for industrialized nations to act on cutting carbon emissions, saying that the nations least responsible for causing climate change shouldn’t be the first to pay the price.

And right here at home, a new study finds that big storms this decade in the Atlantic hit a 1000 year high. None of these things make me feel good, but for people who live in coastal areas, these developments must be downright scary.

Security in one’s home is a fundamental human need, one that we’ll fight for and one that we expect our leaders to look out for. President Obama, and congress, do you have our backs on this one? Even if its difficult, can you mobilize the resources available and put us on track to get to 350 parts per million of co2?

1sky.org is calling for climate action in the name of Hurricane Katrina. The Alliance for Affordable Energy in Louisiana is doing phenomenal work on climate and energy issues, inspired in part by Katrina.

Take a moment this week to think about what’s really at stake when we talk about stopping global warming. We’re trying to reduce the risk of extreme storms that kill people and destroy homes. There are 104 days until Copenhagen. Lets accelerate the progress and show up at the negotiations ready to fight for our people, for all people.