AS NFL TRAINING CAMP BEGINS AND THE LEVEL OF CO2 IN THE ATMOSPHERE PASSES THE 400 PARTS PER MILLON (PPM) MARK, THE NEW YORK JETS AND THE GREEN MOVEMENT HAVE LOW EXPECTATIONS, SOME REASONS FOR OPTIMISM*
* This has to be the first time in human history that anyone has linked the NY Jets and atmospheric CO2 levels.
I am a Jets-a-holic. One of the longest-suffering (since 1966) of the many long suffering Jets fans. I remember our One Shining Moment–Broadway Joe Namath’s Guarantee and Super Bowl III–but also the Fake Spike, Rich Kotite, the Butt Fumble and many other ignominious Sundays and Mondays. If there were Jets Anonymous, I’d be going to meetings regularly (Me: “Hi! My name is Lew and I’m a Jets-a-holic” Everyone Else: “HI, LEW!!!”).
Former Jets Head Coach Rich Kotite, who had a 4-28 record in 2 seasons (’95-’96).
I have also devoted much of the past 8 years of my professional and personal life to educating people and corporations about the severity of the human-caused climate crisis and motivating them to make significant micro and macro changes to help reverse it.
Both pursuits, one relatively trivial, the other of vital importance to SHAWKI (Saving Humanity As We Know It) (some of you may have trouble figuring out which is which), may well be masochistic . And pessimism certainly abounds about the prospects of both the Jets (perhaps the worst quarterback situation in the NFL, no one decent for the QB to throw or hand-off to) and for reversing climate change and its disastrous effects (a Price on Carbon–i.e. carbon tax or Cap & Trade–is not being spoken about at all in Congress nor, sad to say, by the President, despite the aforementioned 400 PPM atmospheric CO2 levels being reached, Climate Change is largely ignored by the mainstream media in the US).
But, there are reasons for hope and cautious optimism in both camps.
NEW YORK JETS
- A young, active defensive line. The Jets have drafted defensive linemen in the first round in each of the last 3 drafts and this may finally translate into a strong pass rush and a stout run defense. The first of the D-linemen, Muhammad Wilkerson, is poised for a Pro Bowl season. Last year’s pick, Quinton Coples, played very well down the stretch. And, though it’s early in camp, Sheldon Richardson of Missouri, this year’s D-line #1 pick, seems like he could be the real thing.
- Hunger. The Jets under Rex Ryan have performed better when little was expected of them and have stumbled when projected to be a top club. Well, VERY little is expected this year. New GM John Idzik dismantled the largely older roster in the off-season. Expect a young, hustling club.
- 80% of US voters under 35 support President Obama’s climate change agenda, in a poll fielded last week. 80%! The numbers get better the deeper you dig into the study: For voters under 35, when asked which words describe a climate change denier, 37% said “ignorant”, 29% said “out-of-touch” and 7% said “crazy”.
- Renewable energy, paternalistically dismissed by the fossil fuel industry as “niche”, has been growing dramatically (albeit from a low base) in both the developing world and here at home.
This wind farm in Kenya came on line in 2012, increasing total power there by 30% (Worldchanging.com)
Of course I’m having a bit of fun with this Jets-Climate Change comparison. “Fun” and “Climate Change” are used in the same sentence about as often as the “New York Jets” and “Climate Change” are, so some levity can be helpful. But, there is a serious point to be made here. It’s very easy to be cynical and negative about perennially disappointing sports teams like the Jets as well as about the prospects for elevating concern about climate change to the point that meaningful action will be taken around the world. I can’t do anything about the Jets on the field. On climate change, however, I-and y’all–can and must do something(s).
“What can I do?”, you may ask. LOTS! Here’s one thing: Check out realitydrop.org. It’s a new website from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project, the non-profit that trains grassroots folk around the world to give an updated version of the slideshow that was at the heart of “An Inconvenient Truth”, to, well, anyone who will listen (full disclosure: I was trained as a Climate Reality Leader in 2012). Reality Drop allows visitors to help stop climate change in real time by directing them to articles by climate deniers and arming them with Facebook posts and Tweets and Letters To The Editor debunking the deniers (it also points folks to articles confirming the science of the climate crisis and provides comments supporting those stories). It’s simple to use. And it’s important. Let me know what you think, if you’ve tried it, etc.
One final note: Last February, I stood out in the freezing cold outside the White House, protesting the Keystone XL Pipeline. My strong hope is that President Obama heard the 30,000+ of us who were there and the many others who couldn’t make it and will make the decision to stop the pipeline’s completion. This coming February 2 (my BIRTHDAY!), Super Bowl XLVIII will be played at MetLife Stadium in the Meadowlands. It is my strong hope that the New York Jets will be playing in that game.
The odds are much better that Obama says NO to Keystone XL.