I’m a little confused. Frankly, I’m a lot confused. The damaging effects of climate change are being felt the world over and if the scientists have it right – with the exception of those paid off by corporations to toe the company line (remember when smoking cigarettes was a healthy choice!?) – at the current rate of planetary change, we will not live to see the turn of the next century. With the ever-increasing global temperature slated to vastly exceed that considered to be even remotely hospitable for our species by the year 2100, we are poised on the brink of human extinction.
Enter my confusion. Why are we still talking about the Kardashians? Why do we care who wore what or which celebrities don’t look like supermodels in their bathing suits? Why, oh why, aren’t we talking about the most relevant and potentially cataclysmic series of events ever to face humankind? Why aren’t we demanding better stewardship through this enormous challenge from our local and national leaders?
When I do a Facebook post about some element my life, it is widely “liked”. When I do a Facebook post about anything climate-related, it is usually completely ignored. The lack of attention and my consequent assumption that my friends and family either find the climate posts annoying or agree with the less than 2% of scientists that deny climate change (see aforementioned scientiest paid by big business to hold a specific opinion), almost shames me into not posting them anymore. Almost.
Yet I continue. Much as experience has taught me some trepidation for raising this obviously unpopular subject, my love for our planet, loved ones, and life in general compels me to try to raise awareness, to try to start the conversation, to try to do…something. Are we ever going to talk about climate change or will we all just die, pretending we didn’t know, with our heads buried in the proverbial sand?
I know, I know. It’s not a pretty picture. It’s bleak, it’s scary, it seems insurmountable. But are we really alright with having our stubborn reluctance to look at or even acknowledge cold, hard facts, being one of the major contributing reasons that our children and grandchildren will suffer enormously, if they even get to live out their lives at all? Do we really think that hiding our heads in the sand absolves us from any blame or responsibility?
I don’t think so. I really don’t. I think that the challenges that face us on a global scale are many. I think that in order to have any chance of actually tackling these issues, we must unite together – regionally, nationally, globally – to find new solutions; solutions that don’t carry with them a lack of foresight that solves one problem only to create larger problems down the road, and solutions that don’t compromise the basic human principles of respect and truth. I also think that as citizens of this planet – especially as educated, privileged citizens of this world – we all have a responsibility to contribute to these new solutions.
If you look at human history, it’s absolutely incredible what we’ve been able to accomplish together. Starting with an idea, growing into a small group of people supporting this idea, and blossoming into full-blown, history changing moments, we’ve abolished (legalized) slavery in the U.S., won women the right to vote, and gotten rid of segregation. Are we not capable of amazing things?
If we can put a man on the moon, if we can create babies from test tubes, if the power of human conviction can re-route history, can we not at least talk about the possibility of how and why to address the greatest challenge that has ever faced any of us? Can we really, in good conscience, turn our backs on our descendants and choose to do nothing, or even worse, pretend that we didn’t know what was happening?
I can’t. I won’t. I think it’s worth trying. I love our planet and I love humanity, and I think that standing up for both is a very worthy cause; not something shameful. With all my heart, I hope that belief spreads – like wildfire – before it’s too late.