Wake the Folk Up!: Climate Change
Wake The Folk Up!
Gaia's Green Medicine
to Heal Our Planet
Photosynthesis & Climate Change
Step It Up!, NYS Capitol, April 14, 2007
Hi! My name is David Yarrow,
and I'm here to tell you what time it is.
Can you read my T-shirt?
It's time to
This rally's purpose is to wake America up to the reality that climate change driven by global warming from greenhouse gases is now the #1 threat to national security and human survival.
But even more important, even more urgent,
we need to wake up to our own awesome power
when we focus the collective creative power of our human intention to do what is right and righteous.
We need to recognize and use this power we, the people have
when we come together with one heart and one mind,
especially now, at this astonishing, mind stretching, soul arousing moment in human history.
So, first, before my waterfall of words,
together, let's create a sense of our power to live in the green and the sun.
Let's share a moment of conscious synergy.
Let's taste unity in time and on purpose.
Stand or sit straight. Align your spine.
Breathe in deeply. Connect your head and your body.
Fold or hold your arms together. Plant your feet on the earth.
Breathe out slowly. Sink down into your feet.
Grow roots out your feet into the soil.
Breathe in through your feet. Up into your body and chest. Look up into the sky.
Hold your breath in. Look around you, and see we, the people who have gathered here today.
Slowly breathe out. And bow to honor each other person who has come here today for our urgent purpose.
Breathe in and straighten up again.
And when you breathe out, make the sound of the first letter of the alphabet: A A A.
Are you Awake?
I said, "Are you AAA—wake?"
Let me hear how Awake you are.
That you are here today says you're already waking up
to the grim reality of our planet's condition.
And the dire and dismal future we are leaving as our legacy
to our children and grandchildren.
Are you ready to wake the folk up?
All those other folk who are not here today?
How ready are you to wake the folk up? Louder.
A lot of folk need to wake up.
Because a new era in human history is about to begin.
And a lot of folk—way too many—are not awake yet—are not ready.
Who still deny the data and common sense.
Who don't understand the dangers of dumping our wastes into the air, water and soil.
Who don't yet realize the planet's thermal engine—that creates our climate and weather
—is now dangerously disturbed, thrown out of balance by centuries of blind burning of forests and fossil fuels.
And the geological clock is ticking down
to the time it will be too late to prevent a collision and collapse.
Experts who study climate warn we have ten years left to change the course of human society.
So, we are all here today as a message that it is time for humans
cut carbon emissions by 80% by 2050
—emission control for our entire society, not just a few industries.
to be stewards and guardians of the Earth's living life systems.
In particular, we are here in Albany today to deliver one simple message
to the State Capital, and to Washington—Congress and White House:
So let's make a lot of noise today to wake those folk up.
But let us remember our moment of silent synergy.
In 1975, I first read about carbon dioxide increasing in Earth's atmosphere
and its implications for waether and climate.
I thought this looked serious back then,
and I've watched this situation for 30 years.
By 1990, I saw enough evidence to convince me climate change will be the #1 issue in the 21st Century. For 15 more years I have waited for everyone else to wake up—or at least 10% of everyone. Because if only 10% of Americans wake up and get serious about climate change, we will spark a revolution that will spread worldwide.
I won't talk anymore about the danger our offspring are facing. I am here to impart a vision—how we can restore balance to Earth's life systems. How we can assure a future for the next generations. Is this something you want to hear today?
To understand my vision of a sustainable society, we must first visit the past—ancient geological past.
Two billion years ago, in evolution, a new bacteria learned to use magnesium to capture sunshine and split water to release its two hydrogens. This was a revolution in evolution. Sunshine and water were abundant! What a great source of energy!! A nearly inexhaustible fuel!!
This invention was photosynthesis. These new bacteria were the first bluegreen algae—the first plants. This innovation is why plants are green. Green plants started the Earth's first hydrogen energy economy. †
So, plants†"burn" water as their fuel. Plants use sunshine and certain metals to pry the hydrogens off water. Plants use sunlight to ignite Earth's most abundant liquid.
Photosynthesis†uses four photons of sunlight to pry†four hydrogen atoms off two water molecules, releasing a molecule of oxygen.† The hydrogens provide energy to power the cell to combine carbon dioxide—a greenhouse gas—with more water to make a stable, solid, chemical molecule—sugar—or carbohydrate.
On all the Earth, only plants do this. Only plants transform sunshine, water and carbon dioxide into sugar and oxygen. Can you imagine life without sweetness? Or without oxygen?
Today, we†burn fossil fuel hydrocarbons to make fire to power our combustion engines.† To burn hydrocarbons, we use electric sparks to ignite the fuel, and release the energy stored in the gas or liquid.†
Plants use sunlight as their "spark" to ignite water—to extract water's hydrogen energy.
So, to survive, humans should follow the example—this model—of plants. Photosynthesis is†humanity's best strategy to fix carbon from the air, reverse global warming and mitigate climate change.
So, let's pause for a moment and give our love and thanks to plants—to these ancient green beings that created and still sustain the atmosphere of the Earth. Trees made it possible for humans—and all other animals—to live here.
And let's be grateful to plants for producing carbohydrates—the sugars—those carbon chemicals that are the sweetness—the nectar—of life.
Trees are among our most important allies in our impending era of climate change challenges
So, let's bless the trees, send them our loving energy to safely open their buds, unfold and grow their tender green leaves, despite our cold, snowy, uncertain spring.
Nearly a century ago, Thomas Edison, a great American electric genius—who invented innumerable items from the soon-to-be-obsolete incandescent light bulb, to industrial power generation and distribution—Thomas Edison said:
"I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!
I hope we don't wait for coal and oil to run out before we tackle that."
Well, it's high time we tackled just that. It's well past wise time we harnessed the energy of the green and the sun.
So, we must learn to get energy like plants—to follow their model of a hydrogen energy economy. We need to start using hydrogen energy to power our homes, our vehicles,†our power plants, our entire economy.
My next step, next year, a solar electric system will be installed on my 192-year-old East Greenbush farmhouse. I won't buy this photovoltaic solar system. It will only cost me a $500 deposit. Instead of buying this renewable energy system, I will rent it, and pay for it with a fixed monthly lease fee.
I can't afford to buy a solar system, but I still have to buy electricity every month. Instead of renting a few kilowatts of electrons from a giant utility, I will rent equipment to make my own electricity at home. And the rate I pay for this electricity will be fixed at the current rate my utility charges me—and will not go up for my 25-year term of the†lease.
This removes the #1 obstacle†that keeps us from switching to solar electric technology—the high cost to design, buy and install the hardware, software, service, upgrade, and repair.†
Second, I am not responsible to maintain or repair a complex, expensive technology.
Third, I'm not stuck with an obsolete system when the next newer, better technology appears.
This is one example of the creative risk-taking investment we need lots more of to move human society off fossil fuels and onto biofuels—from greenhouse gasping to renewable energy.
Citizenre is the corporation about to start renting these solar systems. The Citizenre Mission is to lead the world into solar energy by empowering citizens to produce their own electricity. The Citizenre Goal is for 25% of U.S. residential energy to be produced from the sun by 2025. Currently it is one half of 1%.
Imagine going from 1% to 25% in 20 years. Just over 1% a year for 20 years.
This is one example of the kind of imagination and leadership that America can offer the world in the face of our common climate change challenge.
However, rather than sell my extra solar electricity to National Grid utility—I intend to produce hydrogen from water.† I know a new technology that uses high frequency radiowaves and certain trace elements to split water to produce hydrogen and oxygen.
Hydrogen has many uses as a fuel.† I can burn hydrogen to cook my food, heat my water, heat my house, store in a hydride battery, power my car, charge a fuel cell, prime a heat pump.
The nicest thing is when I burn hydrogen, all I get is water.
My next step is to use hydrogen to fix carbon dioxide into stable chemical molecules—perhaps as charcoal, or maybe sugar, or better yet, cotton, or buckyballsÖ. Carbon fibers and buckyball structures are extremely strong, but very light in weight. Carbon fiber makes excellent light weight bicycle frames and car bodies.
But carbon and hydrogen can be changed into many chemicals: methane, ethanol, biodiesel. Or hydrocarbons—you know, oil. We can become oil producers.
But, as founder of NOFA-NY—New York's organic farm organization—I know we must put carbon in soil to restore its fertility. How will we put fertility in soil to feed our communities when the price of oil tops $100 a barrel? It is time to have answers to such questions ready.
It all begins with sunshine, water and carbon dioxide.
Imagine every†home and business producing electric power, producing hydrogen gas, and all sucking carbon out of the air to store in soil, or oil, or gas.† Imagine this instead of giant megawatt industrial plants.
Imagine hundreds of millions of small systems. We can do this.† This type of hybrid, human-scale technology can reverse global warming, moderate climate change, break our addiction to fossil fuels and imported oil, and completely restructure our society.
That's my vision for today
I wrote it down.
I rehearsed it.
It's on my website:
Are you ready for the next steps?
Step two, this summer: LiveEarth Albany
On July 7—on 7-7-7—seven LiveEarth concerts will be held on seven continents.
Yes, even on Antarctica.
Al Gore is going global.
Seven LiveEarth concerts for a Climate in Crisis.
A worldwide awareness building, fund raising event.
A planetary SOS—Save Our Species
We are beginning to plan an Interdependence Day celebration—a local LiveEarth concert†in Albany. A printed proposal and signup sheet available at my information table.
Step three, this fall: Capital Region Earth Charter Summit
October 13, 2007. Columbus Day plus one.
Isn't it time to Rediscover America?
October 13 will be the 6th nationwide Earth Charter Summit.
Nationwide and locally, citizens will gather to discuss strategy to build sustainable communities.
We are searching for a site to hold a Capital Region Earth Charter Summit in Schenectady. My hope is Union College—the Knott Memorial—where Bill McKibben spoke on my birthday—on Feb. 6 this year, to kick off what we are doing here today. Again, a printed proposal and signup sheet available at my information table.
— updated: 4/18/2007