We had some lousy (and unsurprising) news about the environmental impact we have had and are having this past month.
I wanted to briefly write about it because the news itself is scary, and frustrating, and after being scared and frustrated about it for a minute I, like many others, I think, just sort of… push it all aside, and try to pretend like everything is fine, because, what else can I do?
I also kept seeing one sentiment bounce around social media, directed at a tweet from CNN listing some things individual people can do to lessen their environmental impact. Anger about how most of the damage is done by a few corporations, and, underneath, sometimes, fear about wanting to take any personal responsibility.
That fear is understandable. The way our world is set up, even small lifestyle changes are difficult. You have to be committed. You have to have means, too, depending on which changes you’re making, and not everyone does, so, I get it. I also wholly agree that voting is the most important thing any of us ordinary people down here on the ground can do (hasn’t been working out for us so far, though).
But I’m always suspicious of anything that outright rejects the premise that individual choices matter. Of course they do. They might not be huge on their own, but they matter, and they add up. They have the potential to add up quite a lot, actually.
Whenever I hear specifics about the horrible state of the world, my salvation is always looking for something to do to help. Often there’s not a lot that can be done. The environment is a bit of a different story. There are so many choices we can all make in a day that are small, and that add up. I’m not going to say what they all are, because I think in this consumerist world, those small things are going to be different for everybody. I know which ones work for me, and which ones I feel safe aspiring to, and that can be enough for now.
Environmental catastrophe is such a demoralizing, disempowering, frightening topic. But as for pretending everything is fine, because, what else can I do? I’m done with that. Instead, I’m going to try to stop being afraid to think about it, try to stop thinking there’s nothing I can do, and try to start doing more.
And ALWAYS listen to this.