A recommended read: America the Possible

September 28, 2012 | 3:12 pm | , President & CEO, The Climate Reality Project

As climate activists, we’re accustomed to facing frightening facts. Global carbon emissions have never been higher. Wildfires in the U.S. burned a record number of acres this year. And this summer, Arctic sea ice reached an all-time seasonal low.

As Americans, there’s a whole other suite of scary realities we now face: One in five children live in poverty. Millions are jobless. And income inequality continues to rise.

In his new manifesto, America the Possible, my friend, Climate Reality board member, and eminent environmentalist, Gus Speth, argues that to truly address these diverse problems — from the climate crisis to the income gap — we must remake our broken economic and political systems. They’re currently failing us.

But Speth reminds us that “things are much too bad for pessimism.” He lays out a powerful roadmap for the way forward. He calls for the creation of a post-growth economy — one in which progress is measured in units of well being rather than GDP. He explains we have to return America to a democracy where government is accountable to the people, rather than faceless corporations.

I recommend the book to you because it contains key lessons for those of us committed to spreading the truth about climate change. Speth places our struggle against the dirty energy industry and its stranglehold on government in a broader context. He calls for activists working for change — of all sorts — to join together in a “fusion of progressive causes” to achieve the critical mass necessary to overpower the status quo.

Perhaps most importantly though, the book gives us hope. Our ever-growing list of problems and frustrations will ultimately work to undermine and delegitimize our current economic and political systems. People will rise up in support of change, as they have throughout history.