America, Where are You?

Posted by: Jennifer Scarlott on

The eyes of the world were on President Obama today as he addressed the U.N. on climate change. Throughout his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama promised a sea change in U.S. climate change policy. Much has happened domestically in the eight short months since Mr. Obama took office, but just weeks before the beginning of the next global round of climate talks in Copenhagen on December 7, the United States has yet to enact legislation committing itself to binding emissions limits. India and China are beginning to show signs of stepping up their efforts, acknowledging that the developing world can take action to curb greenhouse gas emissions AND find sustainable paths to growth. National leaders in India, China, the U.S., and around the globe will have to be held accountable on climate change. Nature is not at the negotiating table. Its limits are set by physics and biology and chemistry, and they're being tested and broken by Homo sapiens.

Ordinary citizens in country after country are hard at work creating a wave of pressure from the grassroots that global leaders will (hopefully) find impossible to ignore. Take a look at the website of Tck Tck Tck, the coalition of organizations such as Greenpeace,, Oxfam, and many others that are working to build an irresistable momentum for concrete action in Copenhagen. 

Two days ago, a wonderful multicultural crowd of us here in New York came together in Central Park to participate in a big climate change media event called the "Human Countdown." With half the crowd wearing blue t-shirts and hats, and half green, we formed into an image of the globe, while other participants formed themselves into the shape of a giant hourglass. The "world" squeezed from the top half of the hourglass to the bottom half, eventually re-forming into the words "tck tck tck". Get it, global leaders? Time is running out!  I hope every one of us can get out there and experience the joy, energy, and urgency of this vibrant grassroots climate change movement that is growing literally by leaps and bounds. President Obama, are you listening?