07 August 2021

Do what you can.

"Earlier than expected" is one of two constants we now hear about the climate crisis. The second, concerning intensity, is: "Oh dear, it seems we underestimated it". Do not be fooled. Both are the new "seriously, (let's pretend) we didn't know".  They are smokescreens. Scientists have warned us for ages, we did not want to listen. First we avoided thinking about the climate crisis because it was too far away. Now we avoid it because it is so overwhelming.

Consider this: When you boil an egg, at a certain point the egg white becomes solid. Even if you stop boiling the egg, it remains solid. It does not become liquid again.
And no chick will hatch.  

In other words, what we experience now cannot be undone, it can only be mitigated. The floods, fires, droughts, heat waves etc. the planet is experiencing this year are the result of CO2 emissions from ten years ago. Imagine what the world will be like in another ten years if things continue with business as usual. 

And don't think it's just down to recycling, buying less of this and less of that etc.. That way you allow yourself to be reduced to a consumer, which is a pretty helpless position. And it puts you in a very lonely corner. Remember, we are much more than consumers, we are citizens.

(This) idea of reducing your personal carbon footprint, while not inherently wrong, has often been used as a distraction, pitting ... people against each other with morality choices about how sustainable you are, rather than realizing how much you actually have in common.

. . . the key . . .  is to think beyond the individual and seek community support and solutions — especially those that put pressure on governments and companies to make the large-scale changes that are necessary to truly curtail emissions.

 . . . we can choose the most meaningful actions that are doable for us. Things like reducing consumption of animal products, driving less, and taking fewer airplane flights likely have the biggest impact on our personal carbon use.

. . . we have such a myth of individualism. . . . That myth can make people feel that they have no power, because they can’t do anything against such as something so big as climate change. For many in climate movements, the antidote to that feeling — and the way to build real power — is to band together. 

 If you’re good at organizing, organize. If you’re good at taking care of people, take care of people who do other things, . . . no matter who you are, build community.

(all quotes from here)

by Kevin McShane (https://kevinmcshane.org/)

Imagine the life of your children and grandchildren in 2031 every time you burn fossil fuel, every time you go to/don't vote, every time you don't challenge a lousy political decision, every time you pretend to yourself that there's nothing you can do. 

On a more cheerful note, we had a surprise visit from a long time friend last week. Just in time for dinner, there he was at the garden gate. He is an artist, a carpenter, a baker, someone who has come in and out of our life for 30 years. It was such a delight to see him. 

But he is also deep into anthroposophy, always has been, the whole esoteric path with Waldorf schooling for the children and now grandchildren and so on. Normally nothing to write home about, each to their own etc. but in Germany, the various anthroposophic groupings form the most ardent opposition to Covid vaccines, happily marching with fascists (for details click here), and set up their own political party to compete in the upcoming general election (not a hope). 

In the end, it was a difficult evening, we sat out in the garden and first avoided the subject for a good while. He did not stay the night, but we supplied him with food and wine and memories and information. It will not matter the slightest. What remained was sadness and the knowledge that one way or another, his non-vaccinated family, his beautiful partner, his three children and their partners, six grandchildren, his elderly father, will be infected this autumn/winter and we can only hope that theirs will be mild cases.

(His main argument (and in my humble opinion, the most clueless of all): it will change my DNA. My reply: your DNA changes all the time, it's called aging.)


am said...

"As Heglar put it, “the most detrimental thing to climate action is this feeling that we’re all in it alone.”

It is sad to hear that Rudolf Steiner's followers in Germany are using their community strength to take an anti-vaccine stance. Now I'm wondering if the Waldorf Schools in our community are anti-vaccine. I'd be surprised if they were. Who knows?


Thanks for the link to the Anna North article and the Kevin McShane cartoon.

Here's an example of people working together over centuries I find deeply inspiring:


People who have a sense of community are able to do what they can, when they can, knowing they are supported, loved, not alone.

Anonymous said...

It's true, we're all in this together, and our little efforts at reducing our carbon footprint only makes a small impact on our planet. We must do what we can, and we must demand from those producing the most damage to CHANGE now. Just reading the words that the damage we are seeing now was produced by CO2 ten years ago, and then wondering what our earth will look like in ten years scares me so much. I always think about the first Earth Day movement 51 years ago, more than a half century. We've known for such a long time, and yet here we are.
I'm a little taken aback by the anthroposophy resistance to the vaccine. We are a broken species, we humans. It's hard to make sense out of anything anymore.
Take care there, Sabine.

Pixie said...

mRNA vaccines don't change DNA, but you know that. How frustrating dealing with people like this. I've only had one patient who was adamant about anti vax and I just told him that I didn't agree with him, nor did I want to argue with him. Didn't stop him though but I did speed up his encounter with me.

I'm feeling somewhat down today, not sure why. A feeling of isolation and lack of support with our grandson maybe. We're old parents. I'm juggling daycare and work as I'm getting ready for retirement. Jack's other grandparents are interested in caring for him, except when there is a photo op. I'm feeling put upon, even though I have chosen this. Story of my life.

Sorry, I'm rambling. I hope you're feeling better and life isn't too stressful.

Colette said...

Aaack. That must have been hard.

Steve Reed said...

Ugh. I do not envy you your evening with the anti-vaxxer.

I honestly think the only thing that will make a meaningful difference on climate change, in the long run, is for the population of the world to diminish. We can all take less flights and do what we can to shrink our carbon footprint -- and we SHOULD do those things -- but they must be done in conjunction with lowering the population burden of the planet. How that happens, I'm not sure. It's one of those things that we can manage, or we can wait for nature to do it for us -- and that won't be pretty.

ellen abbott said...

we're doomed. humans are destructive beasts and selfish. whatever humans survive will be living underground because the surface will be uninhabitable, all our doing. scientists and sci-fi writers have been showing us the future for decades. I don't imagine my grandchildren will have children or if they do, theirs certainly will not.

my dumbass brother-in-law, unvaccinated because he 'heard stuff' and listened to that instead of the experts, has covid. not bad enough to be hospitalized, yet anyway. this is why we are doomed. the man is not stupid.

Joared said...

A 90+ year old gal I know here did finally get vaccinated, wears mask reluctantly, complains about the weather disasters but, knowing we have different views, quickly states, "...but I don't believe in climate change." She doesn't want to discuss differences as says it runs up her blood pressure -- I think that's because she got frustrated when she couldn't refute the facts I gave her back when our previous prevaricating govt. leader came on the scene.

The attitude prevailing with some that there's nothing an individual can do has been disproven by many people when it comes to issues needing to be addressed, but that's where it all starts, with an individual. No matter our situation there is always something we can do and more than we realize sometimes.

37paddington said...

Did your friend allow his children to be vaccinated at birth? Just curious. They sound like a beautiful family, and I am do hope that their path through covid will be gentle.

Secret Agent Woman said...

Oh my. The anti-vaxxers make me nuts.

beth coyote said...

Yes to all of this. I live under the flight path of a large international airport and a small municipal airport filled with 4-seaters. I feel ashamed I have taken so many flights this year, mostly to visit my injured child. The competing desires to see our loved one in the midst of a pandemic and the suffering of the planet. California is bone dry. Every time I wash dishes, I thank the water.

I call is cognitive dissonance, our refusal to SEE and our despair when we do see... We were warned and now here we are. Here.