I’ve always cared about the environment to the degree that it’s a consideration when I buy and vote, but not so much that I go out my way for it.
Part of my essay on medium expresses the apathy I often feel around it:
“When it comes to Climate Crisis, I flit between feeling hopeful and useless.
It’s like thinking about Death: I’d rather just get on with my life and not obsess over something I have no control over. I have enough things to worry about.”
But it’s not just fear that stops me from doing anything.
I think most people know and care about it, but like me, they simply don’t have time or energy to do anything about it.
Or rather, little things like changing bulbs and recycling seem so pointless in the face of the meat, oil, fashion or shipping industry.
What’s the point???
We’re hypocrites no matter what we do because we live in a system that makes it impossible to get from A to B without using fossil fuel, or to shop ethically.
And quite frankly, I could probably get through my lifetime without being TOO negatively affected by the inevitable climate crisis. Right???
Then one day, something just clicked.
It’s like I was at a point in life where I was ready to receive the message:
There is hope.
The solutions are there already.
We have all the people, technology, money and resources…we can turn this ship around and genuinely be heading for a greener future.
In fact it’s inevitable, because we will run out of time and we’ll all feel the pinch soon. We HAVE to go green at some point, we’ll have no other choice…
It’s just a matter of WHEN.
So why not now?
I wrote the article to anyone who has reached the point I’ve reached, where they have a bit of spare time and are looking to do something more purposeful.
“Doing something about [the climate crisis], however small, does actually make me feel better.”
I think we need multiple wake up calls until one sticks.
For me, Our Planet (2019) struck a chord – I think it’s because it was a mix of the tragic whole-sale destruction of nature with the idea that it can heal quickly, if only we’d give it a chance. I saw that crucial glimpse of hope.
And later I watched the Netflix documentary True Cost (2015) about the fast fashion industry (it’s worse than I thought – I shop exclusively from charity shops now).
After that I started looking for solutions in earnest. What can I do? What was the most effective thing I could do right now with what I have, where I am and who I am at this point? Can I align it with my current goals?
I don’t actually have an answer to that yet, but I’ve started digging around for it.
So far I’ve read Utopia for Realists, which talks about Universal Basic Income (or Presidential candidate Andrew Yang’s “Freedom Dividend”). To me, it became the logical next step towards a kinder, more robust society that could tackle climate change a lot better. It would solve so many issues, like the brain drain that results from poverty and mental health, that it could free us to focus on the climate or buy more ethically. I started listening to podcasts on it, like Scott Santer’s UBI Enterprise or Pitchfork Economics. It would totally work…
UBI is good, and I still think it’s the single most efficient way to solve A LOT of societal issues, but I wanted to see what else was out there.
I started looking for podcasts specifically relating to environmental solutions happening in the UK.
I was rewarded with shows like:
- Sustainababble, a comedy UK news/chat show about the environment.
- The University of Oxford podcast series on the environment.
- The Flash Forward series about potential futures did a series on Earth, and what it will be like when the inevitable happens, like Desert Creep.
…this is just to name a few.
I learnt about the potential of a New Green Deal, Carbon Tax, Divesting and the Transitional Network.
Now I’m much more optimistic about what we could be.
I wrote this while feeling particularly inspired by all the recent climate crisis events, like the UN Summit, youth protests, Extinction Rebellion and the announcement of a UK General Election in December…
I didn’t publish it until now because I hate sounding preachy and I felt that enough words have been said up to this point…we need action.
But it’s still true that writing is something that I feel I can do. It’s a start. I can do it for my own sense of having done something tangible.
And I know that a lot of people won’t be ready to act on this message, just as I wasn’t ready until very recently.
I’ve been very much in the mind set of ‘what will be, will be – and we probably deserve whatever mother nature dishes out anyway’.
I hadn’t considered the reality of what a worsening climate crisis will look like in my lifetime: Suffering. Widespread. Cruelty on top of cruelty. Increasingly so.
And I hadn’t yet seen any hope of an alternative…
But I can now. And so can millions of others who have been protesting, and writing, and divesting and researching and making…
So many people smarter than me and more experienced, are saying we can do this. We can do this. We can do this.
That means me, you and everyone around us – as much as we are able. What a cool project, right?
So I’m now actively joining in with everyone in the effort to turn the wheel of industry towards a Green Future.
And it feels good.