Can We In North America Continue to Condemn Other People to Death Because Of Our Fossil Fuel Addiction?

During the Copenhagen Conference last December, Mohamed Axam Maumoon, a 15-year-old climate ambassador from the threatened island nation of the Maldives addressed this question to those of us in the industrialized world who have brought the world to this crisis point:

“On the basis that you know what you are doing is wrong and you can see that the victim is begging for mercy…..would you commit murder?

Maumoon continued:

“… it’s like this in the scenario that we are in, because our country, the Maldives—not only Maldives, but other countries such as Bangladesh, Kenya and Zambia—all those countries are suffering to the point that we can’t see the end of it, because the mistakes other countries are making, for the mistakes that you are—that many people don’t try to redeem themselves from. And it’s as good as killing us off. So I ask you again, would you commit murder, even while we are begging for mercy and begging for you to stop what you’re doing, change your ways, and let our children see the future that we want to build for them?” (Click here for more)

The Global Humanitarian Forum estimates that climate-change disasters kill around 300,000 people  a year and cause about $125 billion in economic losses, mainly from agriculture.  They also estimate that 325 million people are seriously affected by climate change  already, and this number will double by 2030, as more people are hit by natural disasters or suffer environmental degradation caused by climate change.

Right now, in the Gulf of Mexico, in the middle of a rich fishing area, there are reports that scientists are finding enormous oil plumes in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico, including one as large as 10 miles long, 3 miles wide and 300 feet thick in spots. The discovery is fresh evidence that the leak from the broken undersea well could be substantially worse than estimates that the government and BP have given.

Isn’t it time we collectively said “no” to our way of life? Our consumerism is consuming the world, one child, one coral reef, one oil slick at a time.  Let’s join together, as millions are already doing, and find a better answer to the question of what it means to be human on this planet in the 21st century.  We are more than shoppers, more than drivers of gas-guzzling vehicles, more than our ever-increasing girth. We can do this!

To join this “people powered movement”, go to my “action not apathy” page or check out these resources:

100 Months To Save The World

No Impact Man

A Prayer For Our Beloved Earth

T. Thorn Coyle blogs at on her thoughts on practice, philosophy, politics and love. She wrote A Prayer For My Beloved in response to the catastrophe in the Gulf. Here are excerpts from it. To read the entire prayer, click here.

You have carried us, these long millions of years,
We beasts, we leafy fronds, we crouching walkers.
The ice has come, the ice has gone again.
Your crust has softened, hardened, cooled, and warmed…

Oil gushes from your sandy floor, betrayal.
Chemicals suffuse once fertile soil.
Holes are rent above your southern quadrant,
Mountains blasted open, or felled clear.

Your oceans saline quick, flow in our blood.
Lover, forever we can say, “I’m sorry,”
But actions speak far louder than strong words,
And we, though brave and brash, are also feeble.

Lover, I fall now to my knees before you.
I will not beg forgiveness, not just yet.
My good friends shall be gathered all around me,
Holding hands, we will make better still, amends

image copyright Conor Ashleigh 2008