Paris Micro-Accords – Make One!

by drcharles on June 5, 2017

The Trump Administration’s fulfillment of a promise to back out of the Paris Climate Accord is under way. It is tragic, isolationist, perverse in its reasoning, and will ultimately lead to much suffering. There is nothing justifiable, rational, or scientifically sound about this decision, and I will not rehash the obvious. Time will tell if the efforts of progressive U.S states, cities, and corporations can mitigate this catastrophic action. The actions of the rest of the world matter even more.  It might be too late, even with the Paris Accord, to stop the inevitable climate change disaster. And so while we are hoping for new leadership, new technologies, and perhaps some future geoengineering messiah, a few small daily commitments from billions of people might help. So here is my Paris Micro-Accord:

1) I hereby commit to purchasing/leasing a Tesla electric vehicle in the next few years. With the prices of new models coming down, mass production of batteries with state-of-the-art tech, and a visionary leader, Tesla deserves to be rewarded. This set will require ratification from wife, and some major financial planning.  Should be less expensive than a dumb Chevy Tahoe and the like.

2) Schedule a meeting at my office for one lousy hour to brainstorm ways to run the office more efficiently, cut down on energy consumption, waste, better promote recycling, and encourage more green-minded food consumption. This might include a review of the travesty that is the trash can after one single lunch break, full of plastic containers, fast food packaging, water bottles, etc. Lights are constantly left on. During the course of a single day, the heat has been put on in the morning, windows opened midday, and the air conditioning turned on by the afternoon, often with the windows still open. Are you kidding me?

3) I vow to plant more trees in open sidewalk cut-outs in my city. These ugly dirt pits are crying out for a tree to suck up carbon, cool the street with shade, and scare away criminals – seriously.

4) As a physician, I recommit to lifestyle counseling instead of heavy reliance on pharmaceuticals. For example, a recent study proved that going for a 15 minute walk after each meal for a person with diabetes can be more effective than a single medication for treatment of diabetes. Eating for the environment (organic, plant-based, minimizing meat and processed foods, etc) is good for the body, mind, and planet. It takes 441 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, and 28 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of energy from meat. The production of methane from the cattle industry is absurdly high, and the rest of the meat story on our planet is terrible.

5) I will try to synthesize a 1 page non-partisan tip sheet to give/email to patients, highlighting the overlapping benefits of certain behaviors, lifestyle choices, and dietary measures for body health and planetary sustainability.

5) I also vow to approach climate change skeptics and deniers with more compassion, understanding, and good-hearted manipulation tactics. Not simply quoting scientists, talking down to people, or forcing them to go along with the rest of their conservative tribe might help. Reading through this transcript of a conversation held on Science Friday with Ira Flatow interviewing three panelists/experts was very helpful in terms of techniques.

In the end, it’s going to be a mess. But we must fight the good, rational fight.  Maybe it will work out, and in the process of fighting the good fight, may we find a rational coping mechanism for the anguish felt in this epic tragedy that is unfolding.

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