Tip O’Neil, former Speaker of the House of Representatives, once declared that “all politics is local.” The same might be said for climate change. While its consequences are global, its root cause is the greenhouse gas emissions each of us emits directly or indirectly from our vehicles, buildings and appliances.
Since anthropogenic climate change is the result of the millions of energy decisions each of us makes in the course of our lives, then it stands to reason that the solution to climate change lies in making those decisions differently. Each us must sign a treaty with ourselves, a personal Kyoto Protocol. Without that individual commitment, no international agreement to mitigate global warming will be worth the recycled paper it’s written on.
This point came home recently when I met a woman named Clare Dakin in London. Clare is the UK’s representative for a program called Project Green Hands. Its objective is to reverse the desertification of Tamil Nadu, the seventh most populous state in India, by planting 114 million trees within the next 10 years.