People Power: Making Polluters Pay

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In what is perceived as a shocking move by many town managers throughout the United States (and in other countries around the world), China recently announced it will no longer be taking the world’s recyclables. Local governments and recycling haulers are scrambling as they piece together these new recycling rules and what it means for local recycling and household collections. Should we be surprised? Of course not. This should be a clear wake up call for us all. What should have been surprising and disturbing in the first place is that we have slowly been moving all our “garbage” off shore.

As our parents taught us when we were young, we teach our children to “clean up our mess.” Yet, as a nation we seem to be fine if companies and individuals make messes, as long as these messes are kept out of sight. China is forcing us to rip off the blindfolds we have been wearing; it’s clearly time.

In a similar way to our recyclables, which have been hiding in plain sight, human made greenhouse gas pollution has been wreaking havoc on our planet and we need to urgently slow down and stop this pollution.  As we Climate Mamas and Papas know, this pollution is created in large part by the burning, production and transportation of fossil fuels.  As these gases are not visible to us,  many people don’t fully realize or appreciate the magnitude of the pollution problem we have created. We are only beginning to come to terms with the ramifications and what this pollution means for the survival of our species and others species on our planet at well. Our friends and colleagues at Citizens Climate Lobby however, fully realize this and they have made it their mission to make polluters pay.  Each year they hold an annual meeting in Washington DC and use this occasion to meet with and explain these facts to our legislators.

Below, is a June 15, 2018 post written by dear friend and Climate Reality leader Lew Blaustein, Lew shares how “people power” can be the driving force in helping create rules that will make polluters pay. You can find Lew’s post in it’s entirety on Green Sports Blog. 

Climate Change Fight Is a Marathon Citizens’ Climate Lobby Aims to Win

By Lew Blaustein

I had the good fortune to spend Monday and Tuesday (June 11 & 12, 2018) in Washington D.C. among an amazing group of 1,400 volunteers at the Citizens’ Climate Lobby National Conference. The 10-year old grassroots organization exists “to create the political will for climate solutions by enabling individual breakthroughs in the exercise of personal and political power.

Though the group is very diverse — volunteers come from all corners of the United States, there are high schoolers and octogenarians, lefties and conservatives (a growing number, in fact) — CCLers have three things in common.



  1. Are passionate about solving the climate crisis,
  2. Believe in CCL’s market-based Carbon Fee & Dividend legislative proposal that would place a price on carbon and that would share the dividends equally with every household in the country. This would grow the economy, in particular the lower and middle classes, and clean energy technologies would scale at the pace needed to avert the worst effects of climate change.
  3. Know that getting to meaningful climate solutions is a marathon and we are in the race until it is won.

Are we closer to the start or the finish of the climate change marathon? No one really knows. But, Tuesday’s lobby-thon — CCLers met with almost each of the 535 House and Senate offices — showed that Citizens’ Climate Lobby definitely picked up the pace.

 For those of us engaged in the climate change fight in the United States, it is very easy to get dispirited.

  • We have a climate change denier in the White House.
  • Congress is controlled by the only major political party in the world — at least as far as I know — which casts significant doubt on the veracity of climate change.
  • Daily political discourse is much, much, much more focused on Russia, Stormy Daniels, witch hunts, Robert Mueller, etc., etc., etc.
  • Even the environment, when it gets covered, centers on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt’s many scandals, rather than the virulently anti-climate policies he, his boss, and their Administration are enacting.

All of this is happening as the climate change news becomes more dire. A recent Washington Post,  headline blared: “Antarctic ice loss has tripled in a decade. If that continues, we are in serious trouble.” If you are reading this, you know there are a legion of such stories out there.

So it is understandable that many people would rather do something — anything— else other than get and stay involved with climate change activism.

These people need to meet Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers.

Are CCLers naive? Just the opposite.

CCLers know that we humans have put our climate in critical condition and that we need to quickly change the course we are on, energy production- and usage-wise.

We also know that the solutions that exist now (wind, solar, efficiency, storage, etc.) can get us where we need to go in time to avert the worst effects of climate change, if we have the political will.

As far as CCL is concerned, building that political will to critical mass means finding a legislative solution in Congress.

(To read the post in it’s entirety, please go to GreenSports Blog)

 Lew Blaustein writes at the intersection of sustainability and sports at theGreenSportsBlog. He is president of Lewis Brand Solutions, focusing on green sponsorship and media, matching greening brands with green properties. 

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