Q&A from "Making a Moral Call to Climate Action" roundtable

During the July 23rd roundtable conversation on "Making a Moral Call to Action" we received a number of good questions that we didn't have time to address. We encourage you to respond, as well as add your own questions to the comment thread.

Franz Matzner: Several times the CIvil Rights movement has been raised as an example.  One of the first challenges civil rights leaders faced was convincing people there was a problem, even those most negatively impacted.  How do you translate this challenge to climate change and how do you recommend overcoming it?  It seems the problem must be raised before it can be placed in a frame of moral calls to action.

Matt Horne: question about the idea that using fossil fuels is morally wrong - how do you raise this idea with people in an inviting way? challenging because so many people don't think they have a choice and telling them that something they think they have no abiility to change is morally wrong is a challenge.

Kristin Pene: Question: Past moral challenges – women’s suffrage, civil rights – called for systems change. Then, taking moral action meant challenging the system of injustice. How does emphasizing personal responsibility for consumption of fossil fuels set climate activists up to challenge the system? Does this approach prime activists for behavior change rather than systems change?

Jim McMahon: Besides opposing fossil fuels. don't we need to simultaneously inform people about positive soltuions: energy efficiency, electric vehicles or walk/bike, stop eating beef? What to do as alternatives/choices over what not to do.

Rick Herron: Once people began seeing climate change through a moral lens, how do we foster a sense of efficacy? How do we provide avenues and opportunities for action that seem commensurate with the challenge, which will empower people to act on their moral convictions in a meaningful way?

Anton Camarota: Climate change is an externality generated from industrial society. The moral basis of climate change is the same as the moral basis for industrial society. Until the world moves beyond the industrial age, the externalities will remain. Thus what is needed is a set of ethical criteria for the next age of man, morals to move beyond the industrial age. The “movement” is nothing less than the end of the world as we know it and the mover towards an unknown future..

Matt Horne: what (if any) is the role for arguments focused on the economic opportunity that clean energy represents as a complement/alternative to moral arguments?

Mike Olson: Can you talk a bit about the philosophy of "stewardship" as it relate to the topic of climate change

Max Wei: Earlier speaker spoke of sacrifice or loss of some goods/services.  How can you expect this type of approach to work when people have a disproportionate sensitivity to loss (loss aversion)?

Tom Conlon: Where are the Catholics? I have attended several of these "interfaith" discussions and rarely hear from anyone representing the largest religious group in the country. I knowl how important a role they played in the anti-nuclear movement of the 70's and 80's.

Lukas Haynes: Can any of the speakers foresee a time in the next couple of years when there is sufficient moral leadership and activism to stage a national moral demonstration about climate protection?

Tom Conlon: Re question posted to All": All communities of affinity (e.g., religious, social clubs, schools, neighborhood, etc.) need simple face to face benchmarking programs; learn and share your baseline resource consumption, and then share what you are doing to bring it down. Until we do this, we are just talking in generalizations.

Tim Mock: Are you working with the Keystone XL opponents? And 350.org? Do yo support the civil disobedience of the planned keystone pipeline blockade?

Brendan Bowles: Single moral movement implies must be recognizable from outside as uniting all the excellent work already being done. One way is to agree:

1. a single uniting very simple message
2. a uniting response that identifies you as part of the movement. One option wd be a 'paytosay' petition. You join by paying $1. You stay joined by paying $1 a month. You wear the badge to say you're doing it. The fact people pay to say means they are seen to mean it. And the campaign generates funds for climate action.
3. A single movement can't be run centrally. You lock the 'message' and the brand. Then you let the messengers run free.
4. Be encouraged! Some impossible things have been achieved under God. Brendan Bowles @climateprayer
Thank you. Great privilege to hear you.