Hey. Do you often spend the night awake, worrying about the impending warming of planet Earth and subsequent death of all Earth’s creatures?
If so, welcome to Antidotes to Climate Apathy, because this column is for you.
As I’m sure many of you have heard, it’s not looking too great on the average global temperature front. We have 11 years to complete paradigm-shifting lifestyle and policy changes, or we will face the worst case scenario for climate change. We’ll watch 50% of Earth’s biodiversity die within our lifetime, and if we aren’t swimming through the streets of our hometowns ourselves, we’ll be watching people struggle to survive as superstorms batter their own communities. Yay! Happy Thursday!
The more I immersed myself in climate news, the darker and darker my thoughts became as to the survival of our planet. How are we going to make all of these changes when we can’t even get countries to sign the Paris Climate Accord? How can we protect biodiversity when we continue to support industries that are responsible for destroying the Amazon?
As my climate-related thoughts spiraled, I began to lose hope in any possibility of avoiding the worst case climate scenario. When an ice chunk half the size of Manhattan broke off Greenland I wasn’t fazed, because subconsciously, I expected it to happen — in my mind, the polar ice caps were already a lost cause.
I realized that my climate anxiety had taken a dark turn and morphed into climate apathy. As I reflected, I realized that I was apathetic because I was emotionally exhausted from stressing about the climate. It was easier for my brain to accept loss than to be constantly wounded and upset about every piece of news and every Instagram story.
In order to shake myself out of this apathetic state, I needed some sort of proof that the battle for our Earth wasn’t an impossible one. I needed something to hold onto — if not outright good news, inspiring stories, promising conservation efforts or new technology.
Most of all, I had to remember that ultimately, protecting the environment isn’t just about me. For every minute I spend sulking in the dark corners of Tisch because I read an article about dying walruses, there are people working tirelessly to protect their homes, their communities and their ways of life from extinction. It’s not that I couldn’t take time to mourn, it’s that I needed to remember to convert my sadness into concrete paths to action. Feeling sad about the Amazon? Avoid eating beef. Upset about walruses? Go to the climate strike.
In short, our planet is just simply not dead yet.
So with that, hello and welcome. I’m not going to tell you how to fix climate change and live a greener lifestyle, because what do I know? Instead, I’ll show you, through stories of things that are going right in the environmental world, that it’s not too late to fight for our planet. Stay tuned.