Frequently, I just want to yell at our world. Wake up! I want to say. What on earth do you think you are doing? The issue is, we’re not doing on earth, or even better, with earth. We’re doing to Earth, and, as a teenager, it is the Earth that my generation and I are going to inherit that this is being done to.
As an insightful activist once said, if you want to get yourself out of a hole, stop digging! This seems blindingly obvious, yet it is literally what humanity is doing right now with greenhouse gas emissions. Meeting after meeting is held attempting to negotiate how much we need to reduce and by when, with the former invariably ending up much too low, and the latter, too far into the future - a problem for the next government, the next generation, but not us. All the while, our emissions continue to climb.
Well, now is the time! It is us, or no one. We need to stop blaming others, stop arguing over percentages and dates, stop saying “well, so-and-so isn’t taking action!”. We need to decide which we care more about: a decent quality of life for generations into the future, or pushing ahead with an ineffective and destructive system for the benefit of the very few right now.
Scientists say that we have until 2020 to really start drastically reducing our emissions (to the tune of 10% a year). That’s when I graduate high school. In a sense, the time period that is supposed to prepare me for my future is the same as the one that determines what that will look like.
We find ourselves in a similar situation with regard to numerous other specific environmental disasters. In 100 years, we may lose all remaining rainforest. Fishing stocks may be completely gone by 2050. By the end of the century, 50% of species may be extinct or facing extinction. Am I the only one who doesn’t like the permanence of this utter destruction?
We have turned this Earth into a figure on the expense report under the heading “externality”, treating it like a static cornucopia from which we can continue to take and take and take, giving back nothing but the toxic wastes into which we have turned what we have taken. We have forgotten that everything is connected: you can’t change one thing in a system and not expect it to change everything else. There are no shortcuts or “freedom” from the laws of nature; if you climb a hill, at some point, you have to go back down it.
All of which is to say, I often feel utterly hopeless about the existential threats facing life. The enormity of the problem is overwhelming: mass extinction, deforestation, ocean dead zones, topsoil depletion, resource depletion, collapse of fishing stocks, plastic waste, the ravages of mining and of course, the climate crisis… the list of ways we are laying waste to the thing that literally gives us life could continue for paragraphs. I feel a need to share this urgency with others, to feel like at least some people are hearing what I wish I could blare from loudspeakers in every city and every board room, to show on every news show, to teach in every class. Hence, this blog. Some types of articles you can expect (if you subscribe... ;) ) are:
- Things I wish everyone knew about the Earth and our connection
- Environmental book / movie discussions
- Current events pertaining to our Earth
- Tips on greening your life
- Ideas on how you can take action
- And more!