Did you happen to open the news sites today? So did I. Bad choice. Boom!!! Climate anxiety banged right back into my already burdened mind… Great. Headache first thing in the morning. You know, just lately I have AGAIN, as many times before, spent endless hours searching the world wide web, diving deep into the environmental issues. Let’s admit, climate anxiety has always been lurking around me like a shadow I am never able to shake completely off… (read the recent post about this topic here: https://buenzliburg.ch/ontheroadagain/2019/06/21/climate-anxiety/ ) this theme popped up first time in my life back in high school. We had a course called Geographic’s of threats and I still remember how attending this course created a monstrous fear into my sensitive mind. And it did change my philosophy for good. Ever since, I have been sure the human kind is more or less doomed. And this was more than twenty years ago (yes, I know I am old. No need to mention it!)
Nowadays there’s much more ground to these fears compared to the earlier chapters of my life. I mean, just open the news site if you didn’t do it already. Australia is burning, for one thing. The Amazon was burning just before… not to forget California. Extreme storms here and there. The Glaciers all over the globe are melting. Norway has +17 degrees Celsius in January. And Meghan and Prince Harry just left the British royal family… ok, I don’t know what that has got to do with anything. But nevertheless, it proves that the world has gone crazy. We are living on the pages of the Revelations. I rest my case.
But what can we do about all this? Or can we? Or is it just hopelessly too late? My skeptical, grumpy side says never mind, don’t bother. Get a life. But… The Bible tells us that in the very beginning the Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it (ok, everybody knows what happened. The man failed poorly and concentrated on eating apples instead.). The German church reformer Martin Luther said once: If I knew I’d die tomorrow, today I would plant an apple tree. (Ok, what is this endless chit-chat about apples and apple trees? Destiny of a mankind depends on APPLES?) I think there is some great wisdom in this sentence. Life is today, life is now. Only moment we have been guaranteed is now. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow is not yet here. Whether tomorrow comes, that we don’t really know. Based on this thought, I would say I have to try and do something about this whole climate-mess all of us are facing. But what? That is definitely the 1 million dollar question.
What a headache. Finding the truth with this issue is like trying to locate a needle from a pile of hay. There are undoubtedly some big environmental themes like food industry, transportation and energy politics that need a closer look. So here goes… FOOD. Vegans say everybody should turn into a vegan and that is how we save the world. Some of them are actually fanatic about it. But I am feeling rather suspicious. Yes, let’s TRANSPORT the rice and avocados and almond milk from all around the world. How’s that for saving the planet? Transporting doesn’t create emissions? Hmmm….
TRANSPORT. Some leaning-towards-the-green-lifestyle people say we should just use public transportation (maybe the rice, avocados and almond milk should use public transport too to get to our plates???). Not everybody needs to own a car, right? Probably not. But I bet the whole car industry does not agree. Their idea is to make us consumers use the electric cars, or bio-gas cars. Somehow I am feeling SUSPICIOUS about ALL these possibilities too. I am pretty sure the only emission-free transportation is the one that moves with muscle power (and even that might produce some bio-gas, mind you…). But that CREATES a problem. I mean, then everybody would have to work really close to where they live. That is really not the case nowadays… So HOW ABOUT if we re-plan our whole infrastructure, how does that sound? Easily done, huh?
Oh and let’s not forget the big BAD aviation. Last time I was uncontrollably increasing my carbon footprint by using their services I noticed they’ve come up with a whole new idea. Nowadays they give you an opportunity to pay more for your flights to compensate your carbon footprint caused by using their plane. What a BRILLIANT idea. Let me just ask you how does paying more REDUCE emissions if you FLY anyway? Civilize me, please, because I don’t get it. Who is it that is possibly getting rich with this absurdity?
ENERGY. Use more nuclear power, says one. Use more wind power, says another. No, turn off the lights completely and don’t use power at all, says the greenish human being (but is still constantly using his/her smartphone). But I just recently read that burning candles inside the house is dangerous too, you might even get a cancer by inhaling enough candle fumes!
After considering all this, we have to remember that PLASTIC is the most evil invention of human kind. (Only there are second opinions about this too, just google and you’ll see…) Oh, and let’s not forget to join the Do-not-buy-anything –groups in Facebook. Let’s not forget to recycle our clothes! Oh and the avocados! Did I mention avocados? For heaven’s sake, let’s not eat avocados even though it has been said eating them is healthy. Because of us avocado-eaters they’ll end up burning down some more rainforest for farmland…
See what I mean… and that was really just a scratch on the topic. My point is, how can we really know what helps? And how do we keep our heads straight and don’t lose our minds completely? And then there is this point of view… if I am doing the right thing but at the same time my neighbor jumps into his gas-burning sports car and goes for a Sunday afternoon joyride… was it worth it?
I just recently read a very good blog text about this topic (sorry but you need to be able to understand Finnish to read it by yourself: https://blogit.terve.fi/mariaisstrong/miksi-minulla-ei-ole-ilmastoahdistusta/), where the bottom idea was that instead of getting frustrated about climate issues we should just take a look around us. And pay attention to the poor, the lonely, the needy… help them out instead of reaching to the stars. Pay attention to what our society has become… Not a bad idea. I think our society needs to change in order to change things. Caring about our fellow people is a human thing to do.
By doing these things we might actually set something bigger on the move. But since I am still who I am, I can’t just leave it there. I need to do something directly to the climate issues too… Referring once again to Martin Luther’s words. Maybe the neighbor in a sports car doesn’t see your point when you are planting the apple tree. But maybe, just maybe, it makes him think too… And if not, you can always accidentally plant the tree in front of his garage door while he’s doing his Sunday afternoon joyride… Oops.
After all this harangue, I believe it is about the time for some kind of a closure. For starters I ended up with a list of few things that I believe are doable and reasonable in our (meaning me & my family) everyday life. How to measure the results, I am not quite sure. Maybe I’ll figure that out later… And whether it is going to save the planet (or at least one square meter of it!) or not, I don’t know that either. But at least I tried. Ugh.
Here’s my list:
- Reducing food waste. Eat what you buy.
- Concentrating on local food & buying less groceries that require long transportation
- Reducing joyrides & other unnecessary rides with the car. Concentrating more on muscle power…
- Reducing waste. Recycling whatever I can.
- Eat apples. They are healthy and local.