August 4, 2009

Letter to Gov about climate catastrophe

Dear  President Obama,

I just finished reading Elizabeth Kolbert’s article in June 29 2009 issue of The New Yorker called “The Catastrophist,” a profile of climatologist James Hansen.

I have thought many times about how to compose any kind of letter that would at least have meaning to me, if not to the administration, but time has run out for pondering.

I am an artist and animator, and I work with issues of climate change (
I have had more conversations than I care to remember about how it’s almost too late, how it is too late,  how it is futile and hopeless because of big business and lobby resistance. But time has also run out for conversations, and people like me need to DEMAND a message from you and a commitment to action.

Respectfully: What is the plan? When do you declare, as I believe is appropriate, an impending state of emergency? When does government step in and help save humans and other beings from a change so drastic, we will all suffer greatly? Health care, bank bonuses, better education, none of it will matter if we don’t make some serious changes in the way we manage the planet – from fuel production to consumption.

I know this is not the most eloquent letter, but I need to hear from you. I am frightened for myself, my friends, for people I know in vulnerable places, and for all the children I know whose lives will soon be altered beyond comprehension.

Marina Zurkow
Brooklyn NY

(sent to web site)

I wrote  and sent this letter last night out of complete exasperation. I’ve been feeling a murky disappointment about the murky attention being paid to climate change, and everyone says “be patient; Obama’s Admin’s hands are full.” I really hope that if you’re reading this, you’ll consider writing too.  A mediocre “cap and trade” bill got passed by the House (and even this has faced enormous resistance by both libertarians and big business) . We are at the end of the hourglass (some experts think time’s up already), and I have gone from helpless despair, to trying to exercise conviction that my small actions will make difference, to realizing it’s only pressure on government to legislate  fuel change, energy innovation and radical shifts in global behaviors. Pundits  opine that scientists don’t understand the way politics work when they state that we have a small window of time in which to slow down or somewhat restabilize the PPM of CO2 in the climate IF we shut down ALL coal plants;  but Hansen “argues that while the laws of geophysics are immutable, those of society are ours to determine.”

If you have any suggestions on how to effectively(?) reach others in gov with individual letters, please post.

Info on the Cap and Trade Bill which will go to the Senate in the fall (if we’re lucky):
Cap and Trade Bill breakdown
Archive of NYT articles on Cap and Trade
The Economist critique of Cap and Trade Bill
Job-loss critique of Cap and Trade Bill