A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Twenty-Four Hours of Reality

A worldwide meeting about climate change

Overshadowed by the commemorations of 9/11 last weekend were yet another huge flood in Pakistan and the latest from the continuing fires in Texas. In Japan, meanwhile, people were marking six months since the 3/11 earthquake and tsunami, and the government there was issuing new warnings about the dangers of radiation.

You’d think that after this year’s crop of natural disasters in this country alone, climate change would be a top priority government challenge. In economic terms alone, 10 of them, so far, have each cost more than a billion dollars, and the latest floods in the Northeast will cost more than twice that.

You’d think, too, that the seven Republican presidential contenders would be falling over each other with plans to address this escalating threat to the security of the nation. And you’d think that people who call themselves “conservatives” would be focused on conserving our planet. Instead, all but one of that particular group is either living in total anti-reality or is too timid to speak the truth. That’s hardly leadership material.

A satirical cartoon from the Climate Reality Project

Flooding in Pakistan may be becoming what scientists are calling a “new normal” – something to be expected every year. This year’s monsoon rains are more powerful than ever, with 233 people dead so far, a million homes destroyed, 80 percent of the nation’s crops ruined, and 300,000 in refugee camps. (Last year’s monsoon floods left 20 million people homeless and one fifth of the entire country swamped.)

Here in the United States, as Texas Governor Rick Perry continued to assert that climate scientists had it all wrong while his own state was on fire, CNN reported that Texas has just experienced the hottest summer on record for any state in the union, with “40 consecutive days of grueling 100-plus degree temperatures.” As a result, energy demands soared “more than 22 percent above the norm this summer, the largest increase since record-keeping of energy demands began more than a century ago.” And, of course, the greater the demand for energy, the more greenhouse gases are being poured into the atmosphere, and the vicious cycle continues.

Whether political wing you sit on, the disaster that is climate change knows no party lines. Today and tomorrow, September 14-15, the Climate Reality Project is broadcasting “24 Hours of Reality” on its website.

During these 24 hours, 24 people all around the globe – one in each time zone – who are living with the impacts of climate change are connecting the dots between the floods, droughts and storms we’ve all been experiencing and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate. From Auckland to Alaska, scientists, business leaders, celebrities and citizens are joining former Vice President Al Gore to bring the simple message that we’re all in this together.

“The climate crisis knows no political boundaries,” Gore said. “Ferocious storms and deadly heat waves are occurring with alarming frequency all over the world. We are living with the reality of the climate crisis every day. The only question is, how soon can we act?”

Gore doesn’t pussyfoot around the issue. No longer having to kowtow to special interests, he is forthright in his accusations of the coal and oil industries. “Just like the tobacco companies that spent decades in denial that smoking causes cancer, oil and coal companies are determined to sow denial and confusion about the science of climate change, ignore its impacts, and create apathy among our leaders.”

He calls it the Climate Reality Project because it’s all about countering the ongoing flood of disinformation (including all the nonsense being spouted by our leaders and would-be leaders) with simple reality.

Gore doesn’t like climate change being described as a “new normal.” He says there’s nothing normal about it. Instead, he says, “Big oil and big coal are spending big money to spread doubt about climate change.”

Gore adds that climate change is not “your fault,” but it is certainly “all of our problem.” And that means that together we can do something about it. Five million people have already signed on. “The big special interests have money, influence and control, but we have something they don’t have: reality.”

And just as, in any 24-hour period these days, a city street can become a river and a forest can become an inferno, so too can we come together in a 24-hour period, to make our own commitment to doing something to make a difference.

The 24 Hours of Reality begin this evening, September 14th, at 8 p.m. Eastern time. You can also watch it here:

Streaming Live by Ustream

What do you say? Are you concerned about climate change? How is it affecting your own life? Let us know in a comment or on Facebook.

What you can do: Go to the Climate Reality Project and take part in the worldwide 24 Hours of Reality Event. Five million other people have already signed on.