I want to advocate something today that has nothing to do with the 350 Day of Action, PowerShift, or the Copenhagen climate negotiations.  Actually, it encompasses all of these things and more.  Today I want to remind the world that we are united in our causes; I want to stress our unity and encourage respect for diverging tactics.

I’ve been reading a lot of blog entries in recent days, and I am sometimes amused, but often saddened, by the sheer amount of vilification that goes on.  Let me give you a recent example that has been on my mind.

There is an Alaskan Senator, Lisa Murkowski (Republican), who has come under fire with environmental groups and bloggers recently, for calling for a year-long delay on the EPA’s imminent emissions regulations.

Murkowski also is apparently also very eager to combat climate change (depending on whose opinion you read).  At any rate, she has watched her state go to environmental pieces with tree beetles, forest fires, and ever-diminishing ice packs–and she has been vocal in expressing her concerns.

So, she clearly understands the gravity of the situation as well as any of us, and, I am assuming, wants to protect the interests of her state–like any good Senator.  I personally don’t understand her motives behind undercutting the EPA for the next year, but the bottom line is that here is someone who wants to solve the problem!

Get it?  She is on our side!  Just because you disagree with her (apparently) ill-conceived tactics is certainly no reason to use language describing the Senator as an “outlaw”.  When I hear things like that it makes me wonder if people really oppose her idea regarding the EPA, or if it has more to do with other factors…like party affiliation.

I’d rather hear positive and empowering climate action stories, or be given clear instructions to encourage the Senate pass really strong legislation.

Another thing that bothers me, and on which I am far more qualified to speak, is the way Saudi Arabia is vilified.  I read an article on this topic just this morning!  Yes, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the world’s leading oil exporter, and the remains of the Tethys Sea that lie beneath their territory have gone a long way towards making this planet a hotter, more dangerous place.  Furthermore, Saudi deal makers have tended to be obstructionist at climate conferences, and have recently upset folks with demands that their economy be compensated for the diminished demand in fossil fuels that a global surge in renewables will certainly bring.

But consider the fact that approximately 90% of the Saudi economy consists of oil exportation.  In asking the world to decrease its emissions (and consequently reduce fossil fuel consumption), you are asking this nation to sign on to a treaty that will force it to commit economic suicide.  Whether in the short, middle, or long term, any eventual reduction of oil demand will collapse the economies of major oil exporters like Saudi Arabia.

In our own present economic situation, the world’s GDP is expected to drop as much as 1.5% in 2009.  The US’s GDP, by comparison, has dropped 6.4% during the first quarter of 2009.  These are not huge percentages, yet look at the damage it has done.

What if you knew your country was eventually going to have to lose 90% of its GDP?  I think you’d be obstructionist and ask for handouts too!

Another thing that people don’t understand about Saudi Arabia is that the government does not fund Osama bin Laden.  How could they, when bin Laden got his start protesting the corruption of the Saudi regime?  (He eventually decided it made more sense to fight the powers that ensured the monarchy’s continued existence, but that’s a whole other can of worms I am not even going to touch.)  Plenty of the oil money the country has received due to the oil boom has gone towards development, social services, and shopping malls to keep the young people dumbed-down and content.  By and large, these methods work–and speaking as a youth delegate, I certainly don’t want to the youth of Saudi Arabia disillusioned and marching off to join al-Qaeda camps and getting blown to bits when the oil money runs out.

Well, listen to me.  I probably sound like some sort of informercial for Saudi Arabia.  No, I’m not on their payroll.  I am, however, aware of some of their national concerns.  And unless you treat smaller nations’ concerns with understanding and respect, how can you expect them to agree to sacrifice for you later in the process?

But I guess that’s the reason I am going to go to Copenhagen to work with negotiators and diplomats, and not to stage sit-ins, throw things, and get arrested.  I once had a friend telling me in an outraged tone that I should be doing just the opposite–and this is exactly why I wanted to spend my day advocating respect for different tactics and viewpoints.

Global climate change is a huge and all-ecompassing problem; it will take huge and all-encompassing efforts to mitigate its effects.  If you want to vilify somebody, do it to corporations that fund climate change denial; but don’t vilify Senators who understand the problem, countries between a rock and a hard place, or college students who believe in talking to our leaders and not throwing rocks at them.

Hugs, love, and respect all around!!

*A Blogging Day of Action Blog.

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