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Here’s a quite short story about natural and human history.
The earth is over four and a half billion years old. For the more than four billion of these years that life has been present, as many plants and animals died and decomposed, the solar energy that had given them life was converted into concentrated carbon, fossil fuel deposits of petroleum, natural gas, and coal.
That’s the natural history part of this short story.
Here’s the human history part.
(Sorry, it’s a bit longer, but bear with me.)
Homo Sapiens, as we humans call ourselves, have only been on earth for approximately 1/3 of a million of these four billion years. For more than 99 percent of this time, we have lived in relative balance with the energy cycles of nature, using nothing more than whatever was provided by the sun each day. But in just the last 250 years or so, we have learned to unearth and exploit these fossil fuel deposits on a massive scale, billions of years of condensed and stored up solar energy that was suddenly available all at once.
And, during this time, because so much energy was required to drive the Industrial Revolution and now the Information Revolution, a small number of humans became immensely and unprecedentedly wealthy through mining the coal and pumping the petroleum and natural gas in colossal quantities. They have literally converted the stored solar energy of billions of years of yesterdays into gargantuan stores of financial energy of today, money.
Unfortunately, producing and burning this fossil fuel energy to convert it into financial energy also results in a byproduct of greenhouse gasses, mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. They’re called greenhouse gasses because, just like a greenhouse is warmed by the sun, they trap the sun’s heat in the earth’s atmosphere, raising the temperature in a process we call global warming. This has been going on since the start of the Industrial Revolution and since that time carbon dioxide has increased by about 40% in the earth’s atmosphere. We have only been keeping accurate records of global temperatures for about 140 years, but in this period they have increased by approximately 0 .8 degrees Celcius (1 .4 degrees Fahrenheit), 2/3 of which has occurred in the last 40 years. Global temperatures have been increasing increasingly.
(Think of this: if today’s Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, plus western US and Australian wildfires, plus droughts in South America and Africa, plus Arctic ice cap decimation, plus Greenland and Antarctic glacial melt are all the result of only 0 .8 degrees of global warming, what does it mean for us that the Paris Accords’ target of 1 .5 degrees is now considered unrealistic and that we’ll be “lucky” if we can hold global warming to only 2 degrees?)
The point of this story isn’t to convince you that climate change is happening, that it’s getting worse, or even that it’s going to cause worse and worse problems. Those stories may be found elsewhere.
The point of this story is simple, it’s about balance:
Massive amounts of solar energy were captured and stored over the eons in what we call fossil fuels
Recently these stores of carbon have been ripped from the earth and converted into massive amounts of financial energy, aka money, with a deadly byproduct of runaway global warming
Humanity’s future is at stake if global warming is not restricted
To restrict global warming we must restrict greenhouse gasses
Restricting greenhouse gasses can only be achieved by changing human behavior
Human behavior can be changed very effectively and very rapidly with financial motivations
Only a small number of humans need to change their behavior in order to restrict greenhouse gasses
Their behavior change can be motivated most effectively and most rapidly by harnessing the same financial energy whose conversion from fossil fuel energy was the cause of global warming in the first place
Solar energy + time => fossil fuels => global warming + financial energy => raised consciousness + behavior change => solar energy
Full circle — simple balance
The moral of the story, then, is even simpler : when the fossil fuels of yesterday’s solar energy were converted into the money of today’s financial energy, global warming resulted; this same financial energy must now be used to fix global warming by returning humanity to the use of solar energy.
Practically speaking, what this means is that the small number of humans who have profited grotesquely by converting fossil fuels into money — we can call them fossil fuel profiteers — must be compelled to make that money available for the creation of alternative, non-fossil fuel, non-greenhouse-gas-producing, renewable energy sources.
Ideally, this could be accomplished solely through legislative measures, but given the global scope of the problem and the multitude of self-interested players, and especially the deadly urgency of the situation, a merely legislative approach will clearly not be timely or reliably sufficient.
More timely and reliable, and hopefully sufficient, will be to quickly utilize both the courts and the marketplace — the courts, where the fossil fuel profiteers can be held accountable right away, without having to wait for bought-and-paid-for politicians to either become miraculously enlightened or to be replaced; and the marketplace, where the fossil fuel conglomerates must go daily to obtain the money they need for their ongoing operations.
In a nutshell, considering that the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of 1998 was $206 billion, and that we can anticipate potential global warming health and welfare damages settlements to numerous lawsuits to be substantially larger, the mere prospect of potential substantial settlements will be enough to cause the marketplace to increasingly, possibly precipitously, abandon fossil fuel ownership and investments, thereby motivating the fossil fuel conglomerates to self-defensively retool themselves for renewable energy production much sooner than they would otherwise have done.
The Grandchildren’s Fund for a Fossil Fuel Free Future will make this happen.
The Grandchildren’s Fund for a Fossil Fuel Free Future is in the process of being formed as a membership-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with four purposes:
(#1) to bring numerous tort lawsuits against the fossil fuel profiteers for damages to the health and welfare of today’s and tomorrow’s youth, both domestically and internationally. By “profiteers,” we don’t just mean the 1st tier oil and gas drilling and refining conglomerates, the coal mining and processing conglomerates, and the carbon-based electrical production utilities, but also their 2nd tier enablers, their institutional investors (hedge funds, brokerage firms, banks, pension funds, university endowments, etc.), their trade associations, their allied foundations and think tanks, their paid-for congressional hearings expert witnesses, and, where possible, their bought-and-paid-for state and federal politicians — numerous tort lawsuits;
(#2) to establish a data bank repository of scientific and legal information for cities, counties and others to expedite bringing similar lawsuits, both in the United States and in other countries — numerous tort lawsuits;
(#3) to utilize #1 and #2 above to motivate the 2nd tier profiteer enablers to abandon their enabling investments and activities;
(#4) to utilize #1, #2, and #3 above to motivate the 1st tier profiteers, the conglomerates, to convert their operations to renewable energy.
These lawsuits, of course, are going to be very complex, extended, and expensive. We have a plan, however, for raising the necessary funds in an extended campaign and on an ongoing basis.
In this regard, we who are forming the Grandchildren’s Fund for a Fossil Fuel Free Future anticipate that all those people, young, older, and even older, who believe in human betterment and not just survival, who believe in social justice and intersectionality, not to mention a future for humanity and other life on earth, will see the opportunity here and be more than happy to help underwrite these legal expenses through attending an ongoing series of international fund-raising and consciousness-raising concerts — like Live Aid and Farm Aid — to be held on an ongoing basis, year in, year out, year after year, all around the world, until the court cases have accomplished their purpose, namely that global warming is no longer an existential threat. These fund raising concerts will be known as the Youth Aid and Climate Aid International Concert Series. The Youth Aid concerts will feature artists and acts playing mostly to GenZ and Millennials. The Climate Aid concerts will feature artists and acts playing mostly to GenX and Boomers.
Please join us and help.
Click here to become a member of the Grandchildren’s Fund for a Fossil Fuel Free Future.
Click here for information about attending Climate Aid fundraising concerts.
Click here for information about attending Youth Aid fundraising concerts.
Click here for more in depth information about the Grandchildren’s Fund for a Fossil Fuel Free Future.