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Daily Connect: Gore on Obama - Abandon ‘Hope’ For Change in Environmental Policy

by Patrick Groneman

Al Gore is releasing a long essay in Rolling Stone Magazine this Friday criticizing the lack of progress that Barack Obama has brought into the Climate debate.  

"President Obama has never presented to the American people the magnitude of the climate crisis," Gore says. "He has not defended the science against the ongoing withering and dishonest attacks. Nor has he provided a presidential venue for the scientific community ... to bring the reality of the science before the public."

Gore put a lot of effort into Obama's early White House tenure, helping pass a climate bill in the House of Representatives that would have helped cap carbon emissions in the U.S, but it failed to pass the Democratically controlled congress.

Obama's use of the word "Hope" in his presidential campaign was helpful in generating positive energy around moving towards change, but it also created a non-specific promise of a future that was “better than now”.  He built a sandcastle with the dreams of his supporters, and now the waves of reality have come crashing down on it, revealing a pragmatism that feels lifeless in comparison.

In March of this year IDP Blogger Lani Rowe quoted Pema Chodron, a Buddhist teacher in the Shambhala lineage, who warns of placing too much emphasis on Hope:

"Without giving up hope that there is somewhere better to be, that there is someone better to be, we will never relax with where or who we are."

And who are we right now as a country?  We are the world’s most voracious consumer of natural resources.  Americans make up 5% of the world's population, but consume 24% of the world's energy.  Our hyper-paced way of living is destroying the planet, no amount of Hope can dispel that fact. 

Where to go from this reality is up to us to decide, I don't have an answer, but I'm not putting much hope in this stock.

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Comments

Waves of Reality

 

Wow, that's perfectly said; "He built a sandcastle with the dreams of his supporters, and now the waves of reality have come crashing down on it, revealing a pragmatism that feels lifeless in comparison."  

I feel pretty strongly that as long as our elections are based on a system of legalized bribery (corporate campaign donations) we will not find the answers forthcoming from our elected officials.  But I am hopeful that we have other ways to affect change as citizens and consumers, and in fact, that many people are looking into alternative ways of exercising their power than by voting.   Maybe the sangha is a good place to start. 

Thanks so much for this thoughtful post!

 

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