In the first post of this series, we explored the idea of environmentalism as a yoga practice. This blog also examined the link between yoga ethics and activism. Additionally, we looked into how the ethical foundation of yoga guides us towards active love for ourselves and our communities. Right now, it’s clear that our communities – and our planet – need some love.

Code Red for Humanity

Last week, you may have heard about another climate report published by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (1). The report compiles evidence from a range of studies to provide the most comprehensive look at our changing climate to date. The evidence is unequivocal that human influence is warming the planet’s:

  • atmosphere
  • ocean
  • land

With each additional increment of warming, changes in weather and climate continue to become more extreme (2). 

These changes are happening right before our eyes. We’re in the middle of a summer of astonishing climate extremes cropping up across the globe (3):

  • deadly heatwaves
  • unprecedented floods
  • uncontrollable wildfires. 

Climate Policy Outreach - GlaciersJuly 2021 was the hottest month ever recorded on Earth (4). There is no doubt what’s going on; climate change is not a problem of the future. It’s happening now in every part of the world, and we needed to act yesterday. 

The IPCC report makes it clear that if the world continues to burn fossil fuels, we’re on track for catastrophic warming. On the flip side, scientists highlight that catastrophe can be avoided if global governments act quickly (5). We have a window of opportunity to prevent things from getting even worse. This requires the world to start cutting emissions from greenhouse gasses immediately. 

Our Future Hangs in the Balance

This glimmer of hope comes at a critical time for climate legislation in the United States. Last week, the US Senate approved a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that would give a much-needed boost to the country’s clean energy infrastructure (6). While it’s a big step forward, it doesn’t go far enough to meet the emissions reductions we need.

Environmentalism as a Yoga Practice - U.S. Capitol BuildingThe opportunity now lies with a process called budget reconciliation, which allows the Senate to pass budget-related measures with a simple majority vote. Last week, the Senate voted to begin that process and start drafting a plan to, in part, cut US carbon emissions in half by 2030. If passed, this plan would result in the most consequential investments in climate, justice, and communities we’ve seen to date (7 and 8). 

The significance of this can’t be overstated. What we do now will have an impact on the rest of our lives. We have an opportunity to create a less polluted, healthier, and safer future for our communities. It’s our future to create, so we need to make sure our leaders deliver. In order to make the emissions reductions necessary to avoid the worst climate effects, we need a Clean Electricity Standard that gets us on a path to 100% clean power by 2035 (9). 

In a previous post in this series, we outlined how to call your members of Congress. It’s more important than ever that our representatives understand the urgency of this moment, so here are some more tips for making your voice heard:Climate Policy Outreach - Mountains

  1. Make a plan. Find out how to reach your representatives, and take some notes to remember what you want to say.
  2. Introduce yourself and let them know you’re a constituent. “Hi, my name is Hailey, and I live in your district/state.”
  3. Tell them why you’re calling.I’m calling to ask my representative to support a bold climate plan that invests at the scale of the crisis.
  4. Make a specific ask. For example: “I’m asking that my representative fight to make sure the final budget agreement includes:
  • A Clean Electricity Standard that cuts pollution in half by 2030 and modernizes our energy grid.
  • Funding allocated for frontline and climate justice communities.
  • Tax incentives for clean energy and electric vehicles.
  • A Civilian Climate Corps that puts people to work.”

The bottom line is that it’s not too late, but we need to act in a big way. As humans, we have agency, and we’ve never had more certainty about how our actions affect the planet. The fight for climate action is a fight that’s rooted in ahimsa, or unconditional love, a foundational principle of yoga ethics. Let’s tap into our love for each other, our communities, and our planet to make our voices heard and fight for our future.

Sources

    1. IPCC report: ‘Code red’ for human driven global heating, warns UN chief, https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/08/1097362
    2. Key takeaways from the new IPCC report, https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2021/08/key-takeaways-from-the-new-ipcc-report/ 
    3. Heat waves, wildfires & drought: How this summer is a ‘preview’ of Earth’s coming climate crisis, https://www.nbcnews.com/science/environment/heat-wave-2021-climate-scientists-warn-new-normal-rcna1664
    4. It’s official: July was Earth’s hottest month on record, https://www.noaa.gov/news/its-official-july-2021-was-earths-hottest-month-on-record 
    5. Climate change: IPCC report is ‘code red for humanity’, https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-58130705
    6. The Senate Approves The $1 Trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill In A Historic Vote, https://www.npr.org/2021/08/10/1026081880/senate-passes-bipartisan-infrastructure-bill 
    7. A Livable Future Rests on Congress Passing a Climate-Focused Reconciliation Bill, ​​https://www.sierraclub.org/sierra/livable-future-rests-congress-passing-climate-focused-reconciliation-bill 
    8. Climate Justice, https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2020/07/what-is-climate-justice/
    9. Clean Electricity Standard, https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/what-are-clean-electricity-standards

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