With increasingly toxic air, shorter winters, the Gulf Stream slowing (if it reverses, we are…), water-giving glaciers disappearing for billions, crop failures…it’s time we act, urgently, now. Our habits will be the death of us, and our children.
Humans are not evil. There is so much kindness, so much decency, creativity, delight. But we become evil when we become selfish, when we mistakenly think that my happiness is separate and more important than yours.
Climate change isn’t someone else’s problem. It’s ours. We are the change—or, not. Everything we’ve ever cared about is on the line in this single wrinkle in time.
If we persist in our attachment to old ways—to comfortable selfishness—we will all pay the price. And “will,” though future tense, is “now.” And “now” is worse and more terrible with every passing flood and beetle killing trees and ticks passing along disease and heat wave and wildfire and toxic smokey air and heat island and crop killed.
It’s time, right now, to get emotional. Close your eyes. Let go of your attaching opinions, and find the light of caring, in waking up your habits, and advocacy.
I recently posted a critique of a huge truck that showed no signs of being used as a working truck. I got some hell for it. But this generation—young and old—must step into responsibility. Insist on electing politicians who get science. Stop clicking “buy” on corporations that don’t care.
Start small, and go big. Think globally, and act locally. It’s not either/or—it’s both…and it’s now.
How to be Green: a few hot Little and Big tips.
- Drinking out of hot plastic is bad for you. Skip coffee to-go cups. You’ve heard it before…but really. Most of us don’t do it. Those cups aren’t recyclable or good for you or our planet.
- Buy from craigslist or antique or thrift shops or yard sales first, go to Target or Walmart or Amazon…never. When you shop big box, you’re killing jobs in your community.
- Skip the straw. Skip the plastic or stryofoam juice cup. Yell lovingly at Jamba Juice, one of the worst offenders. A turtle will thank you.
- Put stuff on power strips and turn it off when not in use.
- Take off your shoes before walking in the house—you’ll have to clean less, as our shoes all have feces, pee, pesticides on the bottom of ’em.
- Don’t poison your lawn. Dogs and children are susceptible.
- This one’s huge: if you’re showering with a vinyl shower curtain…that’s awful for you. Like, really. Go hemp—I bought mine off etsy. You’ll need to wring ’em out and make sure they air dry in the summer and lie over the heater in the winter. They’re pricier, but like most things mindful they’ll last longer and your health will save you money longterm.
- Bike, walk, bus, carpool. I know everyone says this, but really. It’s more fun, too!
- Remind folks who tell you you’re uptight and stupid for caring about our environment that, depending on the criticism: God created our Earth, and we are stewards of this miraculous creation. We can subjugate it and use it, but as humans we have the capacity to choose to be kind, and that choice is what distinguishes us from animals. So if we don’t make that choice, we’re no better than animals (that’s for folks who look down on animals). When folks criticize things you do that aren’t eco, say, I’m not perfect! I’m just trying. It’s not about pretension or hypocrisy, it’s about finding fun ways to be responsible. Grandma wanted us to be responsible, and not waste, too!
- Eat less meat, or no meat. We really don’t need it. In fact, generally, it’s healthier without it. Disagree? Would you still disagree if meat and fish and dairy all tasted bad? No. So just admit: it’s yummy, but we can let go of that and save our planet and a few billion animals’ suffering while we’re at it.
- Don’t want to do this stuff? It’s your choice. But climate change is also a choice that our planet is making, and we’d better make choices while we still have the capacity to choose.
- Power your life (and car, ideally) with solar or offset with wind. There’s more and more options to do this for free, where you’re just leasing the solar. Usually you can pay a small fee to wind your power supply.
- Wear sweaters and use blankets instead of having the thermostat up high. Turn it nearly off and get cozy at night—sleeping in cold air, as long as you’re cozy, is better for your health and sleep (that’s from an NY Times article).
- Most importantly: Vote.
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