Sunday, December 5, 2010

Changing the World

What we would like to
do is change the world--
make it a little simpler
for people to feed, clothe
and shelter themselves as
God intended them to do.

~Dorothy Day

Of Note: What we would like to do is change the world so that people loved one another, and therefore, no one went without life-sustaining necessities because it would be unthinkable. We are not there yet, obviously, but Dorothy Day worked every day to make sure people around her were taken care of. What happens when people we consider poor don't want to be helped or collide with another global initiative of even greater magnitude? This very thing is happening in India where the "waster pickers," who go through landfills to pick out recyclables for resale, are protesting the building of large incinerators, many of which are funded by private funds raised under the UN Climate Treaty. One of the sari-clad scavengers has come 11,000 miles to the annual UN climate conference in Cancun on behalf of the 6,000 recyclers in Pune, India. She is demanding access to the landfill whose contents are now trucked to an incinerator while explaining that the waster pickers are left going door to door collecting trash in a community 12 miles (20 kilometers) away. "We have a right to the waste that can be recycled. We want to continue making a living without interference from such a big private company," the intrepid traveler lamented. On her side is the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) who is speaking out at the conference as well. Their position? Not only do the incinerators produce toxic pollution but also increase greenhouse gas emissions. Their solution? Don't burn anything. Divert organic waste to facilities that use the resultant methane gas to produce electricity; leave solid waste for the global landfill scavengers. GAIA's conference banner declares "Zero Waste for Climate Justice." The greening of the planet will upend many old ways and create new opportunities for humanity. We must be certain, however, that the billions "mobilized in the new realm of carbon finance" do not make their way only to coffers already filled to the brim.

Today's Weather Report: 10 degrees Fahrenheit and partly sunny sounds better than 10 degrees and partly cloudy. I am throwing my weight on the side of sunshine today in hopes that acting AS IF makes it so. Imagination is a wonderful thing. Someone asked online how cold does it have to be to snow. The answer? It varies. Snow forms in the atmosphere way above Earth where it is well below 32 degrees. Thus, the ground temperature can vary from 37 degrees where snow will fall but melt on contact to 45 degrees in high elevations in the west. The problem is ice that DOES form at 32 degrees on the ground. Ice is scary, snow is not.