Seven years ago, in the middle of E. 45th street in New York City, I made a pledge: “If you’re on the planet, you have the right to know the real deal about global warming, and anyone who wants to make a difference in ending it should have that shot.”
That has been my guiding beacon for these last seven years, and what a strange, strange trip it’s been.
It took me initially from being a journalist for Context News reporting on the contextual underpinnings of the situation of global warming to becoming a full-fledged activist, out to not only end the crisis but to use the crisis as an opportunity to reinvent humanity. To me, the opportunity was clear, one I was uniquely equipped for and one worthy of my life. What got us into this mess was a function of context, that which is the root cause of it all, and thus what there was to expose, address and transform.
I am Laughlin Artz, founder of what is now 2030 or Bust. Once I made that pledge, the next challenge was to get what the state of climate change was at the time.
I then spent two years attending climate conferences, stalking experts, studying studies, and calling on every connection I could make to build the models, the science, and the logic that would allow me to fulfill my pledge. A way to be able to say to anyone anywhere, “This is what’s actually happening, and this is what you can do to end it.” Come on, how cool is that?
I remember a particular time in Paris, during COP 21 when speaking to one of the lead authors of the UNEP Emissions Gap report. I was running by him the theory I had come up with the night before for how we could show people what the end of the crisis looked like.
After reviewing the charts and stats with him, we came to a consensus for what that would be, a way to speak it that would be both scientifically rigorous and simple enough for anyone to grasp. What a breakthrough that was, what a moment of true euphoria when I could see the fulfillment of our pledge as something that could happen.
Back To The Drawing Board
Then came the matter of “now that we know the gap between where we’re headed and where we need to be, is that really something that ordinary people can impact significantly?”
Back to the drawing board, and with the help of an amazing group of scientists, we got the answer.
Yes, and the number of individuals it will take is 500 million.
Then things got very real. For us (a small but mighty team) to fulfill on our pledge, we needed to reach 500 million people. And not just reach them with information but reach them at a level that would leave them informed and empowered.
We Ain't There Yet
So here I am, seven years in, and it is not at all what I imagined. I thought once we had built the science, methodology, and models, it would be, “Wow, this is the best news ever! Everyone’s gonna want to hear this!” I could not have been more wrong.
I remember our first presentation of what was then 2020 or Bust (the initial phase of 2030 or Bust); it was at the Phillips Club in New York. When I was done laying it all out, one of our colleagues from the UN stood up and said that it was the best thing he had ever seen for bringing the climate crisis to the world in a way that made ending it both simple and attainable. That we had moved it from impossible to possible. And then he said the words that have rung with me from that moment on: “Now the question is, can you actually pull it off?”
Today, faced with the cold hard reality of what we’ve done and where we are, the answer is NO. And we sure have done stuff. Presentations, press conferences, fundraisers, YouTube shows, social media campaigns, crowdfunding, panel discussions, interviews, podcasts, all that stuff that folks do to get exposure and financing. I’ve dressed up like a polar bear, I’ve longboarded from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, I’ve organized mobilization events around the world, I‘ve played the gay card, the Paul Revere card, the old card, the Forrest Gump card, all for little to no avail.
Yeah, we’ve been able to keep the gig going, but nowhere near what’s needed to hit our numbers (the first real milestone being 100 million people empowered by 2025).
And when I say WE, I mean WE. 2030 or Bust has an amazing board of directors, we have incredible and committed supporters, a kickass core team that has stuck with this through thick and thin (LOTS of thin!), and without them, 2030 or Bust would not exist. They have been instrumental in getting this to where it is, and the fact is that we can no longer operate the way we have if we are to fulfill on our mission. Now you know how it all got started and some of what we have been through to get here.
If you know in your heart you should join us start by donating today. Download the app, reach out and join one of our initiatives, this will get you on the way to taking personal responsibility for ending the climate change!