The sweeping bill to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions that moved through Congress over the last year received relatively scant media attention, taking a distant back seat to the healthcare reform bill and its attendant public uproar. And, much like the healthcare debate (Extra!, 10/09), coverage of climate-change legislation ended up obscuring the issues as much as it explained them, viewing a Democratic compromise bill through the lens of right-wing and corporate criticism, while marginalizing progressive critics who said the legislation was insufficient to the task at hand.
We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up