Blogs have become a powerful tool in modern communication. Distant family and friends can follow each other’s lives, people can interact and express themselves more, and non-geographic communities are being formed and are growing.
Blogs bring independent news from every corner of the world, freedom of speech is spreading to places where voices have been repressed and online communities are slowly bringing our leaders to account.
A cure for democracy?
A well-connected citizenry is fundamental for a healthy democracy. Al Gore concludes his book “The Assault on Reason” with the observation that “Our self-government is based on the ability of individual citizens to use reason in holding their elected representatives, senators, and presidents accountable for their actions”. Internet communities, blogs and independent news are an antidote to the propaganda and controlled spin that floods the mass media. Democracy had become a one-way communication, with information for the electorate being passed on through television news and advertising. But, the misconception that democracy is only about listening to spin and making a single vote is starting to heal and we are seeing a much stronger dialog emerging directly between our leaders and the people who hold them accountable.
No where are the results of this transformation more apparent than on the issue of Climate Change. The overwhelming outcry of the public (uniting through blogs and email groups) is winning out over the entrenched interests of the old energy lobbies and we have found our collective voice. The success of recent campaigns (Global Wakeup Call, TckTckTck campaign, 10:10
UK/Global , ... ) is paving the way for successful negations at the Copenhagen summit in December.
Making it happen
Twelve years ago (1997) the Kyoto protocol was slow to get countries onboard. Australia did not ratify the treaty until the end of 2007, and the US and Alaska never did commit to the carbon reductions, with President Obama planning to find a new agreement in Copenhagen this December.
Only continued pressure, from us all, will make committing to a binding treaty easier than not doing so. Initiatives like 10:10 (see below) are making a real impact. My member of parliament knows I will hold him accountable, and that knowledge ensures that this issue is important for receiving votes at in the next election.
Right now, there are important actions you can take to engage in our democracies and get a better deal for the environment:
USA: The Kerry-Boxer Climate Bill is a really strong bill, and it needs your help if it is going to pass the senate. Contact your senator today by phone or email and let them know you support this important piece of legislation.
Canada: Prime minster Harper is dragging his feet on Climate Change. So much so that the Climate Action Network gave him the “Colossal
Fossil" award for having done more than any other country to drag down talks at the UN climate negotiations. Contact your member of parliament and get in touch with Environment Minister Jim Prentice: get them to put pressure on Prime Minister Harper to attend Copenhagen and commit to a Fair, Ambitious and Binding deal for the climate.
UK: Has your MP signed the 10:10 pledge to cut their personal carbon emissions by 10% in 2010? Mine has! Let them know we hold them personally accountable on climate change, and that we’ll all be doing our bit too. There is now also a Global 10:10 campaign.
The next global climate campaign is on 24th October.
Take a look at what is happening over at 350.org
How can I cut my personal emissions?Just how hard is it to save money and save the environment?! Follow me on my own project as I aim to become Carbon Neutral by 2012. Next week I’ll be conducting my own No Impact Experiment. So please follow along at www.carbonneutral.me.uk