Today I visted my first school in Mexico, a private school near Ensenada where most students spoke English about as well (ok ok, better) than I speak Spanish. I gave one presentation in English and one (!) in Spanish. I encourage you to click on the movie on the left.
Right now, I am embarrassed to be from the United States. This past week Montreal held international talks about what to do after the Kyoto treaty expires. The representative for the United States, at the critical end of the talks, stood up and walked away. This is disgraceful, as the United States uses one quarter of the world’s fossil fuels.
Stopping global warming requires the countries of the world to work together – both rich and poor. Here is why: consider a situation where the United States continues using fossil fuels but Canada imposes limits on fossil fuels. Businesses, finding fossil fuels cheaper than alternatives, will move to the United States. This would both hurt Canada’s economy and cause the United States to emite more carbon dioxide, partially offsetting Canada’s efforts.
Here in Mexico, my message is that we must all work together, as a world, to solve this problem. I also share that there are many people in the United States who are doing something about global warming even if our president is not. I am proud that my governer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is trying to pass legislation that would help California reduce its emissions. There are mayors across the United States that have made pledges. I also share stories of student initiatives such as urally.
I am sensitive that I cannot tell people in Mexico what to do, and that there are many problems perhaps more pressing than climate change here in Mexico. Nonetheless, even if the United States has to act before Mexico, eventually, especially in the lifetimes of the students I am visiting, we will have to work together with Mexico to reduce emissions.
This is my message. (Of course, the students are often a bit more interested in passing around my home-made camping stove or helping me out with my Spanish.)