A CALL TO ACTION
One of the riches of being human is to be an activist, whereby one fulfills oneself as well as their social contract through responsible action. There are many worthwhile causes and I applaud them all. However, today I would like to appeal to your sense of duty that perhaps needs to go beyond what ordinarily you are called upon do.
These are not ordinary times, and hopefully together we will work toward returning to them. The earth is in trouble and calling for help. Environmental scientists, 98% of them, have told us we must address climate disruption or face the threat of extinction. Please google ‘6th Extinction’ to verify.
I want to speak to you as a retired person and a grandfather. My generation has consumed more resources than any previous one in history. This has happened through our excessive life styles which have overloaded the atmosphere with too many greenhouse gases, including methane, nitrous-oxide and especially carbon dioxide. This has disrupted the carbon cycle which when working properly, like it has for the last million years, regulates the climate. Today the atmosphere is not working properly because instead of being approximately 300 parts per million of Co2 it is 408 parts per million, with the other 999,700 parts being mostly nitrogen (76%) and oxygen (22%). This seemingly very small amount of CO2 is causing, along with the other greenhouse gases, all the troubles we are having. Trouble, by the way, that can be readily fixed and create millions of jobs along the way, should there exist the political will to do so. And until we, the body politic, demand it, there is no will to fix it.
When I chose to become an environmental activist the world looked hopelessly doomed. I thought what could I possibly do to make a difference in the face of global warming? As it turns out, a lot! Today after two years of being involved with the climate movement my tune has changed enormously. Now I am not only hopeful that humanity will turn this catastrophic threat around; in addition I find myself surrounded by a caring and loving community whose presence in my life has evaporated my despair and turned it into hope and joy. Now I no longer believe that there is nothing I can do, but rather that there is much I am able to do. I see too that the job that needs to be done today needs to be done by me – today! This work makes me happy, regardless of the terrible reason I’m having to doing it.
It is by no means easy to be a responsible citizen. It has taken me until I became 70 years old to realize this. As a grandfather I see how important it is to keep myself healthy in order to fulfill my duties to my progeny. I think now of my body, mind and spirit as ‘first earth’. If I am not as healthy as I can be I will be of little help saving the earth. I feel it is incumbent upon me (and my generation) to dedicate myself to helping the planet.
There exists a pall covering our situation due to several factors. Firstly, we are intentionally being kept in the dark from the dire facts by the fossil fuel industry and politicians that support them and permits them to pollute. The facts have not only been hidden about global warming but there is an ongoing misinformation campaign that dates back to the 60’s that even denies the existence of a problem. This is criminal to my mind.
Secondly the news media has been negligent in investigating and reporting on the ongoing degradation of our environment. And finally there has been our own personal complacency which I have already addressed. Perhaps some of us don’t act because of the fear of facing something so frightening and the inevitable grief contemplating it would bring.
You may be wondering where to begin your efforts to help. Educate yourself. Political divisiveness mixed with insular social networks and deceptive websites have led many to distrust media completely. There are however many good fact-based environment and science news outlet. Please check out earthshare.org for a listing. Next find a local environmental group and attend their meetings. Then volunteer to help with one of their projects. Start small and see how good doing even just a little bit makes you feel, and go from there.
In the meantime step outside and let in all that is precious to you and all that there is to lose, lest you act in earth’s behalf.
Consider this a love letter written to you by Earth. It reads, “If you care for any part of me, please help.”