Issue 30 : 17 September 2009


Hello %$firstname$%

September solidarity

What a time to be alive, with so much progress being made. Okay, we’ve a long way to go and very little time to get there, but overall I think it’s going rather well, despite the odds being stacked against us. Will the human race come up trumps, at the eleventh hour? Who knows.

In this issue:

Cathedral thinking
Set your alarms for 21 September
Discover possibly the greatest campaign of all time
Mission Possible: mail me your carbon

Cathedral thinking 

Of course we won’t know if our life’s work was enough to avert the worst story ending ever imaginable: “…and they all died miserably ever after.” My generation will die still wondering if we did enough, and wondering what the eventual outcome was.

This reminds me of ‘cathedral thinking’, the idea that a generation can work on the footings and cornerstones of something big – almost unimaginable to them – knowing that only their grandchildren will see the whole, complete with spires, one day.

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Back to school

Some of you will have children, or grandchildren, starting out at school or university right now. I’ve just re-read Paul Hawken's amazing and oft-quoted Commencement Address – his famous talk to students at the University of Portland. It’s well worth a read, and is – in my opinion – a masterpiece.

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Thoughts on my bike

After all that deep stuff, here’s a lovely little treat. A beautiful, simple, childlike yet powerful four-minute art film. Let it fall on you like soft rain. I’ve been out on my bike regularly since watching it. Magic!

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The global wake-up call –  
set your alarms for 21 September

To me it feels a bit like one more big push and we’ll be over that hill. What do you think? Are you up for a September of solidarity?

Have you seen Franny Armstrong’s amazing piece in the Huffington Post? It’s a must read.

"The date is no coincidence: about a hundred heads of state will be in New York for the UN General Assembly and we’ve joined forces with groups such as Greenpeace, tcktcktck and Avaaz who are calling for 21 September to be the global wake-upcall. The day the world finally wakes up to the desperate urgency of the climate crisis."
Franny Armstrong

What I love about all this is the way it’s coming together. We’re remembering Solidarnosc. Remembering ourselves with selfless teamwork. All together now...

This coin has a flip-side. I’m old and ugly enough to know that various people have tried to stir us up before with ‘just one more push’, ‘this will be the day’, ‘the balance is tipping’, etc. Some of you may be feeling tired. Burnt out even – like the fossil.

The global climate wake up callSo come on baby let me light your fire! Or light your own… Imagine this is the year, the month, and that 21 September is THE day!

I could rave about how I’m a fan of each and every one of the forces for good who are now joining forces: Not Stupid, 10:10, Avaaz, tcktcktck, Greenpeace, 350, 100months, enoughsenough, 999itstime, Lifeline, The Wave… the list is long. And the support is solid. 

The Berlin Wall of mass denial comes down

Each of these ‘warriors’, and their followers, have long hammered away at ‘the Berlin Wall’. But 21 September marks the day we, and they – all of us – hammer together and the wall finally comes down. We won’t know how it cracked, or who did it, but fall it will.

This won’t be messy, noisy or violent. It’ll be a vast, shuddering global transformation. The quiet ‘flip’ of a collective mindset. A blinking awakening to the truth that our happiness, prosperity, and wellbeing never were linked to the amount of carbon that we smoke.

That the faster we Come Off It, the better we feel – and the better chance of life the kids get.

There may need to be a few more demonstrations of solidarity in 2009, notably:

24 October:

5 December:

But after September I predict the old game will mostly be over.

The fossil emperor’s old clothes will be seen for what they are: a co2ver up.

It so nearly already is. There’s a striking difference in current media commentary. Everyone is talking about what we do, when we do it, and how we face the climate crisis. There’s no more ‘whether’ we do it. We’ve silenced that tiny voice of self-doubt. It’s now a case of ‘do what and by when’ – which brings me nicely to the main action of this issue.

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Possibly the greatest campaign of all time:

10:10 is both significant and achievable. It’s perfectly pitched. As Einstein said, “Example isn’t another way to teach. It’s the only way to teach.”

If you’ve subscribed to Communiqué since 2005, the chances are your carbon feet are now quite dainty. Or maybe not. I’ve been chipping away at mine, but life happens while we’re busy making plans and mine need to shrink further. Depending how you calculate it, I reckon my personal pollution contribution is around 4 tons.

On the other hand, some of my CEO and celebrity clients still have footprints of 100 tonnes. The point is, we all need a cause, a purpose, a common target – what better than a 10% cut by 2010, with everyone joining in? Even the Prime Minister has signed up!

10% off everything

It may be hard for me to trim off another 0.4 tons because I’ve done all the easy stuff. You may be the same. But it’ll also be hard for my clients to trim off 10 tons.

Wherever we are, whoever we are, we can all cut 10% if we choose to. It becomes a simple question of will. Yes, political will. Yes, collective will. But most of all, personal will.

Imagine the UK Government rep standing up in Copenhagen in December and announcing how pleasantly surprised they’ve been by how easy it was to trim off a tenth. How delighted they are to report that the vast majority of the UK population has signed up to do their bit. How they now feel more confident about the UK’s ability to deliver, and how they think chasing an ambitious carbon diet will make us fitter and stronger as a nation. 

The decision to bring carbon obesity under control is always an empowering decision. Nations and individuals grow in strength, resilience, preparedness, autonomy and stature when they Come Off It.

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Mission Possible:
Mail me your carbon  

Psst. I’m a carbon shrink. You can tell me! You speak your weight, I’ll hear you.

I’m asking all subscribers – that includes you – to email me with an estimate of their current carbon footprint.

Tell me how you worked it out, if you like, and which part you’d most like to tackle over the next 12 months.

I may not be able to reply to each and every one of you, but I promise to acknowledge your efforts.

Confidentiality is assured. If you find you’re 200 tons but you didn’t realise it, you’ll have made my day by sharing this with me. Chances are you’ll feel better too. After all, a footprint shared is a footprint halved – well almost!

The heroes in my book are those who know their number.

You may want to keep a copy of the email you send me – it may come in handy next year when you calculate whether or not you made your 10% target, and what to set yourself for next year.

Email me now

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We are the revolution we’ve been waiting for. Don’t miss out on being part of it.

So long

Dave Hampton
The Carbon Coach

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