The Climate is Calling
In the midst of wild political news that could easily dominate our attention, climate change is reaching new and scary “oh shit” levels- they scream louder and louder with each new report. Following these first sobering, then depressing, then terrifying reports in the news (Fires. Heat waves. Floods. Feedback loops. Tipping points.) is so bruising to our psyche that we stop paying attention at some point. We numb. We resign ourselves to some future misery. Or we occupy an awkward, cognitively dissonant middle space where we acknowledge the gravity of our moment, but continue with the daily business of our lives, untethered from the implications of what we’ve read in the news.
There is, and must be for each of us, a more active response. This moment demands of us full engagement in solutions. In the same way that we are waking up to the hard work required of us as United States citizens- the engagement in our political system that we must maintain in order to ensure democracy and functioning government, this moment in our earth’s history calls us to be fully engaged in the transition off of fossil fuels and toward a sustainable system and safe climate.
What is the action plan for the average person?
Do make changes to lower your personal carbon footprint. This is an ongoing work for us all, and provides the added benefit of modeling solutions to others and nudging cultural shift. But it is now time to do more, a lot more.
Think hard about how you spend your time, money and energy. We are on the brink of climate tipping points and urgent action is needed. Each of us must truly evaluate our priorities and inventory our capacities. I don’t judge anyone for their choices, but I do know that we cannot continue doing what we’ve been doing and expect a different result. Clearly our institutions are not going to save us. It is us who must do the saving, and it is a significant investment of our time and resources that will create the shift we need.
Think about where you have influence and consider starting conversations about climate change in those circles. This is awkward, scary work! We operate with a shroud of climate silence these days, as if we are all scared to acknowledge the elephant in the room. But your willingness to break this norm and begin conversation in a non-threatening way will help to bring and end to silence and engage people in solutions. Katharine Hayhoe has some good advice for striking up conversations that combat denialism and generate action. And here are some best practices for striking up climate conversations.
Give of your time and money. Here are a few organizations pushing us forward on clean energy and climate awareness: The Climate Mobilization (I volunteer with these guys), 350.org, Hip Hop Caucus, NC Warn, Interfaith Power and Light. I’d love to hear about what other organizations are engaging in this great work!
Engage politically. Call your reps and gather a few friends to visit their offices. VOTE. Join in political protest, like September 8th Rise for Climate.
Organize locally. If there is not an organization working to solve this problem in your area, start one. Gather like-minded individuals and strategize about how to move your community, both culturally and politically, toward rapid change. 350.org and The Climate Mobilization have great resources for this work.
Share this and other resources with friends and neighbors. Let’s take it upon ourselves to solve this crisis. What are you waiting for?