Nobody’s Right if Everybody’s Wrong

-Buffalo Springfield

This week we focused on climate change. While I find the topic compelling, it never fails to make me feel sad about the state of the environment.

What the whiteboard looked like after a few days of class…

There are 27 thousand vulnerable, threatened, or endangered species. Our overproduction of plastic is ending up in the oceans, starving animals , and eventually entering our tap water. Human greed is causing the decline and extinction of many animals all over the world. Increased levels of CO2 cause larger differences in warm and cold fronts, leading to more extreme weather events when the fronts collide. The oceans are warming and becoming more acidic, causing coral bleaching and the loss of many marine species.

A nowhere near exhaustive list but depressing enough to get my point across. And to add insult to injury, the more knowledge I gain about these issues, the more I feel overwhelmed and unprepared to tackle them. No matter how hard I try, there will always be people undoing what I’ve worked so hard to make better.

Luckily humans are wired for altruism and when I get bogged down in the details, I take a deep breath and remind myself that there is hope. Not just a small-scale she’s-just-an-overly-optimistic-girl-it’s-actually-all-going-to-shit kinda way, but real, measurable, progress.

Spring-ing into action (and allergies)

In addition to all of the sad facts of global warming, we discussed the change in general opinion towards climate change in the US . I found it very surprising that almost 3/4 (70%) of people surveyed said that climate change is happening. I would have put money on that number being significantly lower, but I am filled with hope at the fact that people aren’t being held back by situational inertia (doing what they always have done because it’s got them this far in life). 57% of people agreed that climate change is caused mostly by human actions and more than half think that corporations(68%), citizens(65%), congress(62%), state(56%) and local governments(57%) should do more to address climate change.

That tiny smile in your gut? Yeah, it’s called hope.

My new mission is to take on smaller projects that will give me tangible results. For example, one of the Yale survey questions found that 41% of people think that global warming does not affect them personally. While I am gobsmacked that people don’t see what is blatantly obvious to me, it is probably because they just don’t know. So, I’ve started to brainstorm a Buzzfeed quiz that matches people with how global warming is affecting them and what actions they can take against it.

The environment is not a political issue, it’s an issue of humanity. As 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg said in a TED talk that gave me goosebumps,

“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions,” “All we have to do is to wake up and change.”

So go forth and DO! Small changes have large impacts. The grocery store that’s a block away? Walk there, with your reusable bags, and only buy what you need.

Its a friend’s birthday? Follow this guide to give more meaningful and environmentally friendly gifts!

One of my favorite infographics ❤

Cut down on your energy consumption– and not just the kind that powers your phones. Watch this video on energy use.  It focuses on the “British Energy Challenge” which is a simulation that allows you explore renewable energy options and effects of cutting down on fossil fuels in Britain. For comparison, U.S. CO2 emissions top contributors are electricity production and transportation.

Other small actions:

Reducing single-use plastics

Writing to your representative

Start having Meatless Monday (or only have white meat or try being vegetarian for a week!)

Be the person who picks up cigarette butts and other trash while you’re walking around

Donating your time and money to organizations that are doing important work like and the Nature Conservancy

Thanks for reading my post! As always, please reach out with any comments or questions!

Here is my weekly photo update:

Convinced some folks to throw a Frisbee around Monday night 🙂 I miss EWU (Emory Women’s Ultimate)
Went on a hike with Benee to Buzzard Rock where it randomly started to hail a few miles in. We still had a great time hopping over streams and scrambling up rocks!

Just because that’s what’s always been done doesn’t make it right. “Instead of looking for hope, Look for action.”- Greta Thunberg

Make use of verbs,