Dec 022010
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

Here we are as winter is starting soon, and the season has changed. And the climate’s changed –– hasn’t it? This time a year ago the climate was all the rage. Here in Fort Collins with the unseasonably warm fall that seemed to be merely an extension of summer, the climate is still all the rage –– or is it the weather? Confused? Me too.

The thing is, where is all the excitement, anticipation, activity, activists and supporters? Leading up to the Copenhagen climate summit, climate change was all the buzz, but now, we hardly hear anything about the problem.

Sure, things didn’t go as wonderfully as some environmentalists had hoped at the big global greenhouse gas party in Copenhagen. And, the climate and energy bill has been wallowing in the Senate with very few previously supportive
Senate and Congressional candidates willing to mention it on the campaign trail. The silence and the pity-partying could only go on for so long before climate-changing momentum was lost.

Grassroots environmentalists really need to re-amp up as the next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is currently meeting in Cancun.

I’m not accusing the climate science community of having kicked back since then –– but, man, the grassroots end has seemed to turn into a mini-corporation of non-governmental organization-land. Where’s all the passion gone?

When discussing something so complex and long term as climate change, it’s hard to justify becoming nostalgic about something as recent as last year. It kind of reminds me of people who take photos on the first day of their vacation, then spend the rest of the trip sending the pictures to their friends on Facebook from their alley-facing motel room.

I do, however, have to admit that I’m missing the fun and excitement of the good-ole-days back in 2009. Back then, anything could happen, everything could happen. You know, we’d have rallies and debates and hold up signs and say bad things about the government and say stuff like “Dude, we’re so gonna save the planet” and “We should sign on to Kyoto.”

Now the grassroots movement seems to have puttered out and chosen to sip mimosas in a post-Copenhagen hang-over content to watch the Tea Party show the world how a wave of fanaticism is really done. Wasn’t it Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, who most recently paraphrased the quote “never to waste a good disaster?”

Well shucks, it seems disasters are like oil spills, never one around when you need one, huh?

I suppose in some respects, maybe the grassroots side of the pro-Copenhagen movement didn’t hang up their organic hemp jock-straps and lock themselves at home on the couch. Maybe folks are just feeling like they have better representation in their state and local representatives.

Maybe the debate has been taken out of the hands of everyday citizens –– the educated and uneducated masses –– and placed their audacious hope in the hands of taking climate issues on at a more local-environmental level.

Maybe people really don’t want to lose their lunch about the environment in the midst of an economic rollercoaster. Or maybe it’s as simple as the fact that a good number of our elected officials had only been elected officials for three weeks when the Cancun meeting began.

I miss the circus of excitement that the last climate big-top brought into our lives, and I’m quite sure that the public disengagement has done nothing for the cause. And, the healthy dose of suspicion I was born with questions the lack of media attention toward the current Cancun crisis.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is a graduate student in environmental health. His column appears Fridays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to

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