Climate Change is Not Coming, It’s Here.

Photo by Nikolas Noonan on Unsplash

We have to stop attaching future dates to it

By 2030 we will…In 2050 this will be normal… These are fantasies, science fiction. And this kind of ‘it’s coming’ thinking is extremely destructive to society. The reality is that it is in the interest of fossil fuel people and polluters and politicians to keep us thinking that climate change is a future thing.

Change is mostly incremental

Remember when Californians were waiting for the big one? The earthquake that would crack the state in half? The San Andreas Fault is still there and still waiting for a cosmic trigger. Not anything we can do about that. But most change, for good or for bad, doesn’t happen in a split second. It happens gradually and as it does we tend to just go with it. The frog in boiling water thing (not actually true, that frog knows enough to get the hell out when things heat up!).

Climate change has been going on for more than a hundred years, since the dawn of the Industrial Age in the 1800s when we began seriously burning things for energy. It brought incredible benefits to society so we didn’t look at the downside. The upside was way too up. Deliriously up. But the bill comes due eventually.

Denial is personal, not societal

I live alone. I’m pretty minimal in my buying habits. Yet, when I take the trash out, there is still a lot of stuff in there. Packaging. Leftovers. Things I didn’t really need. Magnify this by 7 billion people and you have an incomprehensible problem. But we can’t conceive that, even when we watch documentaries about plastic pollution in the ocens or mountains of junk in landfills. Our junk, not someone else’s.

We are in this on a personal, daily level.

If we all act like ants we can move mountains

Ants work collectively. It thought they really don’t have individual minds, but instead work as one. Humans are not generally like this, nor do we want to be. But when we work collectively, we build amazing things. Look at Dubai or Singapore. They barely existed as they are today just a few decades ago.

That is the level of attention and action we need now. On a positive note, we are changing things. Solar, battery technology, electric vehicles, etc. Major changes. Do you have two cars? Sell one, you don’t need it. Take a Lyft and support an income. Ride a bike. When we all do that things change quickly. But we have to be more conscious about those actions.

We are not waiting for the tools and discoveries. We have them.

This is not a panic situation, it’s a lifestyle situation

When we shut down for the Covid pandemic some amazing things happened. First, it got a lot quieter outside. In places like Mumbai and Beijing the skies cleared for the first time in years. People in the US started riding bikes and doing family stuff together.

This happened in a matter of weeks. Think about that. We changed our lifestyles because we had to and the side effects were monumental. But we only did it because of a deadly scourge. And a large number of us balked at that because even a little change was too much for them.

Covid revealed things we can learn from and apply to climate change. But we have to stop being babies about change. Change is good.

We are not looking up enough

I always do a lot of walking. It helps with writing. During the shutdown, which is an ongoing thing IMHO, I walked more. It was therapeutic. Lots of people were out but too many of them walked through our beautiful world staring down at their phones.

There is a simple action item here. Look up and around. Notice things. It’s called awareness and awareness is the enemy of denial or hopelessness.

Look up and things will look up. Corny, but motivational for me to look at the sky and understand perspective. Things like climate change can be dealt with if more of us act with awareness of the effects of our choices and actions.

The days of impulse buying are over (or should be)

It’s never been easier to acquire things. I can click over to Amazon and get anything. Anything at all, instantly, or close enough to be instantly. This is wonderful but…it feeds our societal addiction to the short term rush of buying things. Shopping should not be a form of recreation.

I have a new rule to help myself with this. When I have the impulse to buy something I put it in my shopping cart, but do not buy it right then. I look at it later to determine just how important it is. I’m quite amazed by what’s in there and I am not a big consumer.

The problem is that these impulse buys really add up when a lot of us are doing them. And we have exported the American brand of consumerism to the rest of the world, creating an entire society that measures self-worth by what we have, not by who we are and what we contribute.

We are buried in stinking, steaming piles of stuff and we still keep feeding the addiction. Stop and think twice before you pull the trigger. You probably don’t need it.

It’s not that hard. Just think about what you are doing

I can’t make a sign and go and protest at an oil depot or in front of a Capitol building and expect anything to happen. It is unrealistic and those guys really don’t care. They would not even see me. But I can think about my actions in the context of their global impact and reconsider them.

This is exactly what polluters and short term gain people and companies do not want you to do. They don’t care if you protest because they know you will go home and microwave a meal that comes in a plastic container wrapped in plastic wrap and packaged in cardboard. They will notice if you stop doing that.

Personal action is a powerful thing but it must be meaningful and measurable. Protest if you want. It can make people think and that’s a great start. But it is your day to day choices and actions that create real change.

The world is burning right now, not in the future. The things we do right now are important right now. If we can clear the skies in a few weeks to the point where a city can see itself for the first time in years, we can change this now.

Former software marketer. Former musician. Writer, nine non-fiction books, two novels, Buddhist, train lover. Amateur cook, lover of life most of the time!

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