On climate change or, how the eff do I make a difference?
Every morning upon waking, the first thing I do is reach for my phone. So does everyone else. However, being the quirky chick that I am, I have a slightly OCD checklist I have to go through so that my day has the flavor of productivity and organization right off the bat. First, I note any randoms who texted during the night (priorities, am I right?) Then I look at both of my email accounts and delete all the spam. Next, I open the Facebook app to watch just one animal/kitten/baby goat video. Ok, I lied. I watch ten. After getting my dose of awwwwww lol, I check out some news sites to confirm that the world has, indeed, survived another day of the Trump (p)residency. Lastly, I check the Weather Channel app. Pretty normal stuff. I have a confession though: I loathe hot, humid weather. It makes my make-up slide off my face within a half an hour of applying it. Not sexy. So every morning, especially in the warmer months, I check my phone with my fingers crossed that today will be a good make-up day.
I have another motive,though, and since I’m being brutally honest, I’ll divulge my other reason: climate change scares me. Yeah, I know, day to day weather is different from changes in the climate, but…I get scared. And it’s not a kind of amorphous, it’s-only-a-possible-threat-that-I-can-maybe-ignore-for- another-decade kind of fear. No, this is the kind that jolts my amygdala and stirs my guts. My brain and body are alert and aware of the very real threat that climate change poses not just to me and my survival, but everyone I love. And everyone I’ve never even met. And all the animals I love and will never meet. Quite literally, checking the Weather Channel app every morning is a tiny gesture towards acknowledging Death, in all its horrific and painful incarnations. Dramatic? Sure. But if you’re real with yourself, you know a part of you feels the same way.
“Such a typical Liberal response. Get everyone riled up with FAKE NEWS and then just walk away, adding to the hysteria.”
“Ugh, she’s right. But what can I do? It’s the PLANET, ffs, and I can’t make a difference, can I?”
“I’m older now, I’ll be gone by the time the planet fries to a crisp. I’m gonna get mines, and chill. #Yolo.”
“Meh, it’s sad and all, but Jesus is coming back soon, so…meh. It’ll all come out in the wash.”
These are some common responses that I see on a daily basis. On social media, especially. I’m not here to argue your “logic” for feeling or responding this way. Hey, it’s your brain. If you’re absolutely certain you’re right and nothing and no one can change your mind, so be it. But I’m going to list some small but useful things I’m doing now to play my part in being a resident of an imperiled Earth:
· Like or subscribe to environment/climate pages and vet any articles that catch your eye. If they come across to you as too over-the-top or hysterical, it’s likely they will appear that way to everyone else. Getting hysterical will solve nothing. Keeping a level head is key. Look for articles that calmly explain the verifiable science behind a new development in the ongoing fight against climate change, animal conservation, etc. Then share them with everyone. If people who follow you realize you’re not a knee-jerk responder, they’re more apt to take what you post seriously. Sure, some rando may try to engage you in an argument, but it’s up to you to pick your adult battles, so if you wanna strap on and go to keyboard war, have at it. Me? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
· Meetups that focus on environmental issues, especially in larger cities, are rife with cool, fun and interesting activities to sign up for. No lie. And if you’re a single honey like me, these are legitimately decent places to eyeball a lil sumpin while you’re saving the planet. “Hey, you like Tofurky Jerky too? Cool. Wanna come over and watch YouTube videos of baby manatees? Right on.”
· Focus on just one issue or organization that really speaks to you and donate,volunteer time, buy a t shirt, etc. I suggest this because there’s a buffet of groups and pages and marches to commit to but that’s overwhelming. So, if you REALLY love baby manatees, get to know a group that is actively working to help them and focus your energy there. Pssst, I like them, too. Wanna come over and…ok, sorry.
· Be mindful of how you contribute to your “carbon footprint”. No, I’m not suggesting you get ultra-strict in your lifestyle, but do a little research when, say, buying an air conditioning unit for your tiny NYC apartment to ensure it’s not contributing to air pollution. Because, let’s face it, getting a high-powered window fan ain’t gonna cut it, especially because every time you turn it on, you’re greeted with the smell of curry from the down-the-block take-out place. Mmmm, hungry now. Saag, anyone?
Ok, so this is by far NOT a comprehensive list of what you can (and should) do to contribute to helping environmental and climate causes. But what I’ve listed is hardly demanding or too much of a drain on your time, energy, or finances. Look, I’ll say it again. I’m scared. Maybe you are too, at least secretly. This stuff crosses your mind in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep because you really shouldn’t have had that last frappucino from ‘Bucks. And hey, when it DOES bother you, stay positive. A lot of the people who are working to help our planet and its inhabitants are still optimistic about our future. We got this. You got this.