Recently I was reading an interview in Mother Jones with Eric Holthaus and David Wallace-Wells, who regularly write about climate change. The title of the article was “People Need to Be Scared About Climate Change. They Also Need to Recognize That It’s Not Too Late.”
What struck me was the latter part of the title: “They also need to recognize that it’s not too late.” It reminds me of the importance of not losing hope, of finding ways to galvanize us to make productive and lasting changes.
So I brainstormed ways to take action and stay grounded. Here are a few ideas that have helped me:
I honestly believe that one of the most important things we can do when accosted with something awful in our lives (and climate change is awful) is to face that reality for what it is, acknowledge it, and prepare to move through it.
A helpful practice is to greet the despair you feel about climate change and the future of the planet. Let that despair in from time to time, listen to what it’s telling you and then use it to motivate you towards action.
We don’t talk about the power of hope enough, maybe because it seems like a waste of time. I disagree. Hope can be a powerful tool for change! The work of Rebecca Solnit in particular has been very inspiring to me, and if you utilize Facebook, she posts links to news about hope and change often. Her article “Don’t Despair” encourages readers to recognize the positive changes that are already happening to help create the best-case scenario for our planet.
I do think it’s important to face reality and stay informed, even if the information seems daunting. At the same time, it’s also important to reframe our mindsets and see that there is hope.
A couple of other items on my hope to-do list is to watch Josh Fox’s film “How to Let go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can’t Change” and to read the book by Chris Johnston and Joanna Macy titled “Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in Without Going Crazy.”
Joan Baez reminds us that “action is the antidote to despair,” so it’s time to get out there and do something! Join a local organization, donate time or resources to non-profits working on climate change issues and start finding ways to reduce your own carbon footprint.
Here are some ways to get you started:
- Mothers Out Front
- Environmental Defense Fund
- Oregon League of Conservation Voters
- Columbia Riverkeepers
We tend to bite off more than we can chew when we become passionate about a cause. Start slowly. Choose one thing at a time (there’s plenty to choose from), and stick with it. When you feel like you can take on more, add something else, and so on. Remember – every action counts!
Be Mindful and Practice Gratitude
In the rush of daily life, we often forget to slow down and breathe. It’s always okay to take a break – just pause, even for a moment. The world can be a difficult place – so remember to regularly stop and breathe.
Going outdoors, opening a window, interacting with plants and animals, appreciating the natural world in some way – these are great methods of becoming mindful.
The natural world gives us a bounty of food, oxygen, beauty, and countless other gifts. Once per day, find something from the environment to be grateful for and thank it.
-Thomás Grubb, MA