San Francisco environmentalists think people aren’t afraid about how driving their car warms the planet. To rectify this, activists are trying to get global warming warning stickers slapped onto gas pumps across California.
Environmentalists with the Bay Area chapter of 350.org want global warming warning stickers put on gas pumps around the state to tell drivers that the fuel they are buying is causing global temperatures to rise.
The group says that putting stickers on gas pumps would be a constant reminder to drivers that their actions are harming the climate — much like warning labels on cigarette packs remind buyers the harm they are doing to their bodies.
“Human beings are not really wired for seeing the cause and effect of climate change,” Jamie Brooks with the Bay Area chapter of 350.org told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The cause is burning fossil fuels, but we’re not going to feel the effects until well into the future. There’s no immediate signal to a consumer of gasoline to show their effects on climate.”
The idea is to remind people they are putting carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere which harms the planets, argues Brooks, and get them to change their behavior. Environmentalists typically support low-carbon transportation like electric cars or bicycles.
“The goal isn’t to take transportation away from people and say, ‘You’re a bad person,’” Brooks said. “The goal is to create a signal saying, ‘You need to change your behavior.’”
Brooks and his environmentalists cohorts are trying to sell city governments on the idea, and have already discussed the idea of labeling gas pumps with San Francisco and Berkeley city officials. The groups says it will also target Oakland.
The Chronicle notes that the idea would likely be subject to legal challenges from gas station owners and oil companies. Brooks, however, said he believes his initiative could withstand legal attacks. Gas pumps already have warnings labels about harmful substances contained in the gasoline.
The Bay Area 350.org is just one chapter in a much larger organization, which boasts 144 groups in 63 countries. All of the local 350.org groups, however, can act on their own — which the Bay Area group is doing with the gas pump labeling initiative.
The parent 350.org group was founded by environmentalist Bill McKibben, a major opponent of the Keystone XL pipeline. As the opposition to Keystone fades, McKibben and 350.org have turned their attention to persuading colleges and universities to divest from fossil fuels.
But according the 350.org, schools that have rejected their demands to divest from fossil fuels include Harvard University, Cornell University, Middlebury College, Boston College, Vassar College, the City University of New York, Brown University and Swarthmore College.
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