PEACE

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered this Christmas message. In the spirit of peace, it’s worth the minute to watch.

AWE

Thanks, Sid and Diane, for forwarding these four jaw-dropping minutes. It almost makes me wonder whether I am of the same species as these guys. Beautiful to watch.

HOPE

Each year, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights holds its “Ripple of Hope” fundraiser in New York, named for Bobby Kennedy’s famous words in Cape Town at the height of Apartheid in 1966:

Few will have the greatness to bend history; but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation … It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is thus shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

One man working more than overtime to improve the lot of others was dinner honoree Al Gore. Watch his speech. The first five minutes are mainly thanks. But then, after giving low marks to the global talks on climate change just ended, he went on to address the big picture. The really big picture:

The essential obstacle to action to solve the climate crisis is the promulgation and acceptance of a lie. The lie is that it is perfectly all right to put 90 million tons of heat-trapping, global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet every 24 hours and to dump it there on a continuous and ever growing basis as if that atmosphere is an open sewer. It is not an open sewer. These heat-trapping gases, it turns out, comply with the laws of physics: they trap heat. The temperature is rising, the oceans are evaporating more moisture into the air and the warmer air is holding more of it and thus the entire water cycle of the earth is being disrupted. And so we have once-in-a-thousand-year floods in city after city in countries all over this world. Twenty million people displaced from their homes in Pakistan, further destabilizing a nuclear-armed country. An area in Australia the size of France and Germany combined flooded out. My home city of Nashville, Tennessee a year ago May – thousands of my neighbors lost their homes and businesses and had no flood insurance be case it had never flooded in the areas flooded, a once-in-a-thousand-year rainfall there as well. In Vermont, when tropical storm Irene brushed by this city, briefly raising fears that the entire subway system would have to be shut down and the tunnels closed and luckily that did not happen, it did an estimated $12 billion of damage and the governor of Vermont said we didn’t used to have the climate of Central America, we used to have the climate of Vermont. . . . Out of the 254 counties in Texas, 252 of them have been on fire this year . . . We are told by every national academy of science of every nation in the world that has one that the consensus is correct and these academies have jointly called on the governmental leaders of the world to act urgently. . . . 98% of all the climate scientists who are most actively publishing agree with the consensus. If God forbid you had chest pains that got continually worse and you were able to consult with the 100 leading heart specialists in the entire world and 98 of them said, “Oh, my God! You’ve got to take this medicine and diet and exercise more, but you happened to find 2 of the 100 who said, “I’m not sure. We need to know a little but more.” – what would you do? That is the question that is facing us today. . . . In computer terms, our democracy has been hacked. It is no longer operating to protect and serve the public interest. . . .

It’s fine to skip the first five minutes, but watch the remaining eleven? It just builds and builds.

If you’re looking for New Year’s resolutions, this speech might suggest some. Walk more, turn things off when you leave the room, eat less meat (cows belch), vote for the party of people like Al Gore who – while they have not done enough either – at least lean the right way.

 

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