Posts Tagged 'sacrifice'

Focus the Nation: The Unanswered Question

Last night my husband, friends and I and 3,200 others gathered at University of Portland for Focus the Nation. College students quizzed Governor Kulongoski and other elected politicians on solutions to global warming while OPB did a live radio broadcast.

My first thought: young Jesse Jenkins of the Cascade Climate Network is my current top pick for president in the 2020 election. (Who says I can’t think ahead?) His smart, impassioned opening speech was that effective, that anchored in conviction.

My main thought, though, is about the question that a student asked but did not get answered. “Where’s the sacrifice?” he called from the back after one of the politicians gave a techno-wonk response to how we would reduce our carbon emissions sharply and quickly enough to avert global disaster. The room got quiet. The panel did not volunteer to respond.

OPB’s moderator Sandra Tsing Loh rushed to fill the void by saying playfully, “Ah, sacrifice. We’ll get to that question later, if we have time.” That time did not materialize.

With our nation needing to reduce our carbon emissions 80% by 2050, new technologies cannot save the day. Even energy conservation and energy efficiency — which we should all be practicing aggressively — are not enough. We have to use radically less fossil fuels, period, which means changing how we live.

Enter the concept of sacrifice, which the nameless man with the prophetic voice understood. I have been changing my life for awhile now with small sacrifices, and I’m willing to keep going farther in that direction. The last time our nation embraced the notion of sacrifice was during World War II. Can we not muster the moral fiber that our parents and grandparents did?

I’d like to hear others’ thoughts on this, both pro and con.

John Edwards: More Grit Than Gloss

I’m sad that John Edwards has exited the presidential race. Why? I saw his as the most honest and courageous voice on the national stage, between his populist stand against poverty, naming corporate greed for what it is, and . . . imagine this . . . promoting that Americans should be willing to sacrifice as we address global warming.

I heard Mr. Edwards use those words when I was ten feet away from him at a Portland Business Alliance dinner in 2007 at the Oregon Convention Center. I have heard many speakers and been around many politicians. Yet I was deeply impressed. He was more gritty than glossy, almost in contrast to his good looks.

Mr. Edwards has called Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama with the news of his exit, specifically asking them to commit to addressing poverty more in their campaigns. I find it ironic that the populist candidate who stood most firmly for the common man ended up sacrificing his popularity in the process.

What almost nobody is talking about is the fact that poor people will suffer the most as global warming advances, and already are in the low-lying coastal areas of the world.