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Climate Change: Generational Evil (VIDEO)

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The following video is a compact and emotionally moving overview of the problem and solutions to climate change. It is designed to be a quick and compelling way to get up to speed on the issue and help others do the same.

In 2012 the dangers of human-caused climate disturbance became undeniable, making this the fundamental moral issue of our time. The following features clips from the world's most respected climate scientist, NASA's James Hansen, and two key advocates for systemic change: Bill McKibben and David Roberts.

This 49-minute video teaches the basic science and explains key climate dynamics of lag time and tipping points in ways that all age groups can grasp. Richly illustrated with images of this year's unprecedented retreat of Arctic sea ice and the near-total surface layer melt of the Greenland ice cap, this video also includes footage of the Colorado Springs wildfire, the midwestern drought, the mile-high Arizona dust-storm, Hurricane Sandy, and other climate turning points frighteningly evident in 2012.

The call-to-action excerpts by Hansen and McKibben are overlaid with compelling images of civil resistance (including Hansen's three arrests) and enthusiastic public participation in events: worldwide rallies to voice support for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere back down to 350 ppm and McKibben's autumn 2012 "Do the Math Tour" (which spread the news that there is five times more carbon in fossil fuel reserves already discovered than could be burned without exceeding the 2 degree C threshold of additional warming that is widely regarded as the maximum "safe" limit).

My wife, Connie Barlow, a science writer, and I introduce each of the clips and share our experience of "waking up" in December 2012 to the terrifying prospect of climate catastrophe, which is happening faster than scientists had projected only a few years ago. (I refer to it as my "climate change come-to-Jesus moment".)

Our extemporaneous storytelling of which aspects of the 2012 climate-change news and statistics rocked us out of complacency is an invitation for viewers to likewise make a shift in outlook and priorities.

Among the most emotionally moving footage is the the portion of James Hansen's 2012 TED Talk, "Why I Must Speak Out about Climate Change," where he explains that his love for his grandchildren, coupled with his formidable knowledge of the science, compelled him to speak out against, what he perceives as, "intergenerational injustice."

We produced this video mix for precisely the same reason. As members of the generational cohort now in power, we exhort fellow "boomers" to awaken to the "generational evil" that will become our sad legacy if we continue with business as usual, focusing irresponsibly on our own comfort and security while expecting future generations to deal with the horrendous conditions that our own complacency will produce.

The best place to stay informed about climate change is Joe Romm's indispensable "Climate Progress" blog. The best two books that deal with the specifically MORAL side of the issue are: Moral Ground: Ethical Action for a Planet in Peril, and A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change. For other resources and links to hopeful and inspiring ways to respond to this crisis, see here.