Categories
Climate Change

If not now, then when?

Stupid animal species

I feel like pulling my hair in despair. I look around for something to grab, something to do, like a madwoman. And I notice I have three lamps on. I get up and turn two of them off. The room is a bit dim, but there’s enough light to do whatever I need. I sit back in my chair and continue reading the article on my computer screen. But now I am calmer. I feel like I did something to help the cause. A little thing. I know it isn’t enough. And here is why:

“…all of the rise in global average temperatures since the 19th century has been driven by humans burning fossil fuels, clearing forests and loading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane that trap heat.”

Lisa Friedman, Hiroko Tabuchi and Winston Choi-Schagrin on The New Your Times

Furthermore, the article says that the carbon level hasn’t been as high as this year since hundreds of thousands of years ago. That last year, in Pakistan, for example, the temperature was over 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit); and who could even live like that?  

And what did we do? Lived our lives. We lived our lives and disregarded everything else, like a stupid species we are.

I am reading this summary of a report that 200 scientists have agreed on at the United Nations request. The things they say are enough to scare the bejesus out of me.  Here is what else is in the report:

  • The developing nations suffer the most.
  • The biggest polluters don’t want to reduce carbon pollution – they named China and the United States.
  • At this moment, China is the biggest carbon emitter, while the United States has produced the most over the past decades. The fastest-growing emitter is India.
  • It is a snowball effect: every fraction of increase in temperature has chain reaction effects, which, in turn, have chain reaction effects and so on.
  • Wealthier nations don’t find common ground for helping developing countries transition to green energy.
  • Demonstrations are to be expected in major cities.

And so, we are all screwed.

I am the government, and so are you

I feel powerless. I don’t know what to do and where to start. The issue is all over my head, and it’s engulfing me, suffocating me, literally. I can turn off my lights and walk to work, skip the meat and buy fewer items, but what does that do? Just making me miserable while my neighbor’s lights burn all day long, while other people’s SUVs are idling in the parking lot to keep the car cool while shopping, and while there’s more useless stuff being shipped from Amazon than there’s sand on the beaches. In the meantime, the smoke from the northern and western wildfires floats over the steaming city.

No, I am too small to change anything. I am too small to help the planet. That’s what I feel. But I cannot accept that.

Yes, I may be too small to help the planet, but maybe I can help people turn off their lights when they don’t need them. And yes, I am too small to change the policies, but my voice can tell the policymakers what to do. I am not the government, but I am the government in many more ways than the people who govern us now.

Leave a Reply