THE BLOG

Carbon Chanting

12/04/2012 11:13 pm ET | Updated Feb 03, 2013

A recent poll says that 69 percent of usually cynical, stressed-out, can't-be-bothered New Yorkers have finally come to the same conclusion: Coal, petroleum and other burning stuff is going to literally choke us and drown us in our own stupidity.

And, as we all know, that many New Yorkers can't be wrong.

The tiny, black carbon molecules changing weather patterns and the quality of our air have demonstrated their ability to whip up waves powerful enough to make a hurricane in the boroughs look like an action movie.

So, what better time and place to discuss the coming deluge than the desert city of Doha, Qatar, one the world's largest producers of the little black carbon dots linked to climate change?

Certain world leaders have buried their heads in the sand for years on this issue, seeking to stay competitive with emerging manufacturing markets. But history will not be kind to those who think they can watch and wait. One day they may call this period the second "Black Death."

Dan Morrell is in Doha for the final days of the conference to stir things up a bit. His antidote to the "black death" is the concept of "enchantment."

"We all deserve to live in a more enchanted world," says Dan, and he has a vision of how that might come about.

But, when you're in a hole and you keep digging you want someone to throw you a rope, not a sprinkle of fairy dust. The cynical New Yorker in me says, "Get real." But I can't, because my wife believes both in fairies and in Dan. Born and raised in the South, it's in her DNA to be hopeful. Working on this project, she has become personally and professionally "enchanted."

Dan has had some big ideas before -- that's why he's worth listening to.

He's the guy who traded the first ton of carbon in 1988. Dan's also the man who created (and even trademarked) the term "carbon neutral." It was the New Oxford American Dictionary's "word of the year" in 2006.

The Rolling Stones, Joe Strummer, film director Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow) all listened to Dan when he told them they could offset their carbon footprint by planting forests. They became pioneers in carbon neutrality.

But Dan doesn't think "neutral" goes far enough. He's looking to push the needle towards "positive" change. He's teamed up with a hot music producer in London known as Youth (Sir Paul McCartney, U2) and Craig Sams, founder of Green & Black's chocolate, the first fair trade product, to come up with the idea of "enchanting" the world through individual and group chants that are uploaded to their website -- www.globalchant.com.

Dan expects to get a billion people chanting into their cell phones and webcams saying things like "I'm Serene, I'm from Indonesia and I chant for the atmosphere." That's followed by Serene holding the note that represents "Atmosphere" in the 7-note CHANT lexicon.

The CHANT Foundation will fund projects and programs in the seven cause areas.

So much hot air in Doha these days. Dan's fresh idea is a cool and gentle breeze, which, we can only hope, will help us all breathe easier in the future.