Tuesday, 14 June 2016
Taking back the power (however small)
Another day, another climate change milestone is reached, according to this article in the Guardian. On top of the violence and hatred of the past few days, things aren't looking so rosy out there.
My commitment to making lifestyle changes to mitigate our environmental impact wavers daily. Anything I do is a drop in the ocean - even in my own household, I am the one who cares the most - and I know that there are people out there who care less than my nearest and dearest. I go through phases of being engaged, actively trying to reduce our household footprint, signing petitions and trying to talk to others about the issues we face. And then I just give up. My smallness in the face of such enormity inevitably leads to despondency.
This is of course a ridiculous attitude when applied to almost any other moral dilemma. My reponse to the terror, hatred and bloodshed of the past couple of days isn't to stop trying to be a kind person and a good citizen and join in because 'it's going to happen anyway'. I didn't 'give in to inevitability' and join a hooligan firm, I didn't head for my nearest LGBT bar and unleash devastation and hatred because 'I'm just one person so my being kind doesn't matter'. I don't lose sight of all the people who care, blindly convinced that a vocal minority in a comments section are instead a powerful majority.
Why? Because I know my actions have consequences and I'm not an arsehole (at least intentionally) - and, of course, because there are clear personal benefits to being kind and peaceful too, though as with anything they come at a cost. Because I want to live in a world that encourages kindness and all that is good in the face of hatred and fear - and I know that I can change only myself.
My environmental impact may be negligible in the scheme of things - and yet it isn't so neglible that the citizens of most of the countries of the world don't undercut it by a longshot. My actions contribute to devastating consequences. There are clear personal benefits to cutting my own carbon and environmental footprint, though as with anything they come at a cost. I want to live in a world that encourages ecological resilience and all that is green and good in the face of destruction and economic imperative - and I know that I can change only myself.
There is only one thing more depressing than facing seemingly insurmountable problems; and that is to give away your power completely, to take no action, however small it may be, in the face of those seemingly insurmountable problems - financial, personal or global. And this is the lesson I need to remember, whenever I give up 'being green' in a fit of despondency.
I'm going to spend this week looking for ways to reduce our household footprint further. Lists make everything better.