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Bill Moyers: Why Are We Giving the Silent Treatment to the Crisis Which Could Make All Others Irrelevant?

Global warming is a planetary emergency on that should be on every politician’s mind, so why are any of us still silent? And what can we do about it?

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How do we use this new information to change the decisions we're making now, the kind of crops we plant, the kinds of cities we build, where we site a hospital, you know, do we build next to the coast? I mean, these societies are making enormous, you know, decades long investments, infrastructure investments, and often doing so without thinking about climate change as part of that decision making process. So globally we see that there's an enormous need even for the building of basic awareness of the problem.

BILL MOYERS: There was a destructive typhoon in the Philippines recently as you know that killed over a thousand people, caused massive damage and left over a million people displaced. And as fate would have it at that very time delegates from around the world were meeting in Doha for the climate change conference. And the representative from the Philippines, while there hearing about this typhoon back in his home made this very impassioned plea.

YEB SANO: There is massive and widespread devastation back at home. Hundreds of thousands of people have been rendered homeless, and the ordeal is far from over. Madame Chair, we have never had a typhoon like Bopha, which just wreaked havoc in a part of the country which has never seen a storm like this in half a century. And I am making an urgent appeal, not as a negotiator, not as a leader of my delegation, but as a Filipino. I appeal to the whole world. I appeal to the leaders from all over the world to open our eyes to the stark reality that we face. I appeal to ministers. The outcome of our work is not about what our political masters want. It is about what is demanded of us by seven billion people. I appeal to all – please, no more delays, no more excuses. Please let Doha be remembered as the place where we found the political will to turn things around. And let 2012 be remembered as the year the world found the courage to do so. To find the courage to take responsibility for the future we want. I ask of all of us here, if not us then who? If not now, then when? If not here, then where?

BILL MOYERS: Were you there?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: I was there.

BILL MOYERS: Was anyone really listening to him?

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Absolutely, people were listening to them. But what I think is particularly important about what he said is the world needs to open its eyes.

These events are no longer abstractions. They're no longer talking about what's going to happen in 2050 or in 2100. Again this pervasive sense up to now has been that climate change is distant, distant in time, and distant in space. And what we're now beginning to see is that it's not so distant. It's not just future generations. It's us and it's our own children. I have a nine-year-old son. He's going to be my age in the year 2050. I don't want him to live in the world that we're currently hurtling towards.

BILL MOYERS: Describe that world for me as you can see it.

ANTHONY LEISEROWITZ: Currently we are scheduled, unless we change direction to go through the two-degree mark. And in fact, we're heading on towards three, four degrees and perhaps even six degrees centigrade warmer than in the past. As you go things get much, much worse. And in fact, let me just use a simple analogy.

 
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