This weekend, I’m celebrating the 5th anniversary of the release of my album, A Little Dark Music, and my composition, Earth Hour. On that same Earth Hour night 5 years ago, I also started the Green Keys Tour, a 63-city solo piano concert tour promoting eco-friendly behaviour. These “concerts in the dark” were a great way to meet people who care about the environment and use music as a means to engage and enlighten. But 5 years later, with my past small initiative and the efforts of many others, are we any closer to putting a dent in the fight against climate change?
If you believe what 99% of the world’s scientists tell us, we as a world are doing a very bad job in curtailing our carbon emissions. The world seems to be in 6 camps:
1. Those who believe man-made climate change is real. They have made significant steps to lower there personal carbon emissions and lobby for government to enact tough laws to ensure the rest of us do the same.
2. Those who believe man-made climate change is real and have made significant steps to lower their personal carbon emissions but don’t have the talents and/or time to advocate any further.
3. Those who believe man-made climate change is real and think that they’re lowering their personal carbon emissions but they are not.
4. Those who believe man-made climate change is real, promote the fact that they are lowering emissions, but are actually not at all or not enough… i.e., “greenwashing”
5. Those who do not believe man-made climate change is real and refuse to change their habits to lower carbon emissions.
6. Those who do not believe man-made climate change is real but do take personal steps to lead an eco-friendly lifestyle out of health concerns (eat local, clean air, etc.) or to save money (i.e., cost of utilities).
From this list, I find the two most dangerous types of people/corporations are numbers 4 and 5. We must do everything in our power to call these people/corporations out. They must be shamed and ensure that everyone knows that they are going down a path that is endangering all of us! If it’s the middle of the summer and someone is idling a giant Hummer for 15min in a parking spot, how come we cannot walk up to them and tell them to shut it off? These days, if someone smokes inside anywhere, we have no hesitation to tell them to step outside… Is this not the same thing? If a corporation’s practices are damaging the environment and on top of that they have the gaul to advertise that they’re doing good for the environment, why do we as a society not rise up and do everything in our power to halt them from doing the damage they’re doing? If we are in a crisis situation, why do our actions (or a lack of action) not reflect the situation?
The next dangerous camp is #3. I hate to say this, but I think the majority of society fits in this camp. We have to do a better job of forcing people into changing their habits. The masses are like lemmings… If they see everyone else doing something, they will follow suit. If there’s laws telling them that they can’t do something or go without, they will. Once we master #3, then 4 and 5 will be much easier to deal with.
And finally we want everyone to fit into categories 1, 2 and 6. Yes, believe it or not, I think 6 is okay! I have many close friends and family members who fit into the mould of #6 and while I’m baffled that they either can’t understand or refuse to accept the enormous amount of research by 99% of the world’s scientists on climate change, the fact that they still do lead an eco-friendly life means that they are still helping our cause. So let’s stop focussing on #6 so much and put our attention on helping #3 and battling #4 & 5!
When you shut your lights off for Earth Hour this Saturday night, please think of my list. What camp do you fit into? And, are you content being in that camp?