Kyoto and Perception

I just read an interesting editorial in the Morning Sentinel by James K. Glassman about Kyoto and the US. (Sorry, try as I might, I was unable to find a link to this editorial.)

With the big shindig in Montreal, we’re sure to hear lots about Kyoto. And lots about how the Bush administration did the unthinkable in not joining the Kyoto treaty. (Interestingly, Clinton didn’t join in when it was created 11 years ago.)

Glassman points out that even the most ardent Kyoto proponents–including Canda and the European Community–aren’t able to live up to the gas reductions called for in the treaty. During the Bush administration, U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have slightly gone down (a little more than half a percent). But Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have actually increased!

Over the last decade, Canada’s emmissions have far out paced the US–Canada’s increased 24%; the US’s 14%.

What blows my mind is how important perception is. Even more important than reality.

The global perception of the US seems to be that we’re not at all concerned with the environment. (And our government, both under Republicans and Democrats, have done lots of goofy things that reinforce our brash stereotype.)

But the reality is that the US appears to be doing a better job at curbing emissions than it’s other Western counterparts.

At some level, perception becomes reality. Or a form of reality. And that can make dialogue very difficult.

As a pastor, I try to tell people that the desires of their heart may indeed be God’s leading them in a particular direction. But somehow their perception doesn’t let them see that as a possibility.

It reminds me of Extreme’s 1992 album “Three Sides to Every Story“: yours, mine, and the truth.

Even in my own perception of reality, I’m seeing it as I see it. (You might have to read that a couple times.) I’m just as guilty of coloring the water as the next guy.

A couple weeks ago, we looked at the Transfiguration at church. In Luke 9:32, it says:

Peter and his companions were very sleepy, but when they became fully awake, they saw [Jesus’] glory and the two men standing with him.

I have a feeling that becoming “fully awake” is the key to discarding our perceptions in favor of the Truth. What I love about this story is that Peter, James, and John weren’t seeking to dispel their perceptions. They weren’t trying to will them away. They were just hanging out with Jesus. Apparently they were even a bit drowsy.

It was Jesus who tore the veil.

Come Lord. Please keep tearing the veil until we see You as You really are. (And thanks for loving us even before we “get it”!)

[3/3/2006 I’ve since read reports that the US Govt’s figures were wrong and we aren’t any better than other countries. I’m so tired of political games by both parties and each administration that’s been in power. I’m sure glad political agendas aren’t at the top of God’s Kingdom priorities. Ha, can you see Jesus running for office?!]

Marc A. Pitman

Marc A. Pitman helps leaders lead their teams with more effectiveness and less stress. The author of "Ask Without Fear!®," he is the founder of The Concord Leadership Group and FundraisingCoach.com. He's also the executive director of TheNonprofitAcademy.com and an Advisory Panel member of Rogare, a prestigious international fundraising think tank. He is the husband to his best friend and the father of three amazing kids. And if you drive by him on the road, he’ll be singing 80’s tunes loud enough to embarrass his family! You can connect with him on Google+, on Twitter @marcapitman, and like "Ask Without Fear!" on Facebook. To get his free ebook on 21 ways to get board members engaged with fundraising, go to http://thenonprofitacademy.com/21waysebook

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