Standing up for the planet (while our leaders sit down)

There are people in this world, who do not see anything wrong with our (the human race’s) relentless and nonchalant rape of our planet.

Maybe you are one of those people.

Or maybe you don’t think we are raping the planet.

Maybe you think humans have nothing to do with climate change.

Or that climate change doesn’t exist.

Or maybe you just don’t care very much because it’s easy to get distracted by the day-to-day drama and hubbub, and not feel the gravity of events occurring on more gradual, harder-to-detect scales.

I don’t know who you are.

I don’t know where you stand.

Here’s my question though:

Why would anyone go out of their way to be irresponsible to our environment?

Why waste, when you can reuse?

Why insist on non-sustainable fuel sources when sustainable energy is a clear and present option.

Look. I believe that we’re destroying our chances of surviving on this planet by our recklessness. I believe the data. And I can detect with my own senses the changes happening in climate.

But let’s say I’m wrong.

Let’s just talk about oil.

Do you know what oil is?

Do you realize how it got there?

Do you realize its not infinite?

And that when it’s gone, it will take longer than humans have been on this Earth to replenish?

Also, ask yourself: What does the oil mean to the planet? Could there not be unknown, unanticipated repercussions for draining the planet dry?

I guess that’s a risk you’re willing to take?

Okay. Let’s go further.

Let’s say Earth will be fine without oil. And future generations will somehow work it out and find a way to function without oil.

Then just let me ask you this other thing.

What is a valid justification for wasting when you can reuse?

Why would you not want to do that?

I can only think of a few reasons.

1) Apathy
2) Laziness
3) Money

Those aren’t great reasons.

1) Apathy, I can understand. Due to socialization, the values of the people who raised you, the ideas that resonated with you as you developed.

Maybe your parents spoke negatively of “tree-huggers” whenever environmentalists were on the news.

And, maybe you never pursued data that contradicted what you believed. Maybe you didn’t take a moment to look at pictures of South American rain forests now compared to 20 years ago.

Maybe you haven’t seen with your own eyes what’s happening. What we’re doing. Or maybe you’ve seen glimpses, but figured the sources of those glimpses were sensationalists and manipulators (and don’t get me wrong- I am sure some of them were).

Did you know there’s an island of accumulated plastic and garbage in the Pacific ocean that is estimated to be over 5 million square miles in size?

If you did know, is that OK with you?

If you had no idea, well… is that OK with you?

2) Laziness, I can also understand.

I am so lazy, it makes my head spin (lethargically).

Changing habits can be difficult.

Caring about things we didn’t used to see as important, can be challenging.

It takes a collected effort to resist this. To build momentum. To swim upstream, when the people around us don’t care.

Or even worse, they actively care about resisting personal and cultural evolution.

But again. When you’ve truly understood what we’re doing to our home… how can you just sit there with your thumb up your ass?

I mean, if it’s just about you really wanting something in your ass, we can find other stuff to put in there while you use your thumb for other things.

Some of us “tree-huggers” don’t have many boundaries in bed, so I am sure we can stimulate your ass in ways you’ve never imagined.

But uh… what I mean is, join together with others who are passionate about what matters. Let’s mobilize and be less lazy together.

Solidarity amongst the population is especially important, because…

3) Money. The ultimate bottom line for so many people. And as far as I can tell, it’s probably a primary reason why Donald Trump just removed the United States from an unprecedented global effort to reduce CO2 emissions.

Except, that doesn’t make much sense to me. It seems shortsighted to the point of utter absurdity.

Why?

Because renewable energy is becoming more lucrative (for those who produce it) and affordable (for its consumers) than ever before. This trend will only continue, because why wouldn’t it?

Adhering to the old paradigm when a new and better one is clearly emerging is more than inexplicable to me.

There is money in sustainability. There is big business in sustainability.

I’d vouch for sustainability even if that weren’t the case.

Because what are we even doing here if we’re not going to do right by our home and our fellow earthlings?

But some people are motivated mostly by money.

So if that’s you, what are you going to do when there’s no more money left in fossil fuels? After society has reached a critical mass for standing up for what is right?

Now is the time. Get on the right side… (of history).

Look forward. There’s a future out there.

Think back five years. Ten years.

How much has the world changed between then and now?

Meanwhile, most people in the past decade, have lived as though the world was always going to stay the same.

They lived like today is forever.

They didn’t predict trends.

When lots of them first heard about smartphones, they thought, “That’s pointless.” Or “That’s unrealistic, that isn’t really going to happen.”

Now they cuddle with their phones in their sleep.

The world is always changing. Ideas are always growing.

People who put themselves to the task of accepting responsibility for the future are the ones who most prominently determine the outcome.

Trump is not looking ahead. Actually, I don’t know. I have no idea what that guy is thinking or what’s in his covfefe.

Meanwhile, there’s Ellon Musk. He’s one of the reasons humans are on their way to Mars. One of his companies is working on consumer solar panels that are more affordable and sturdier than traditional roofing. He’s responsible for some of the most innovative solar-powered vehicles currently in existence.

Meanwhile, the President of the United States just made an ass backwards decision.

And some people think that’s just perfect.

And I don’t get it.

But since this is the case, we truly need to stand up.

And not let the government determine our values and actions.

We just need to do what’s right. No matter what.

Accept responsibility for your role in this world.

You might not be president, but you’re a big deal.

And you matter, whether you agree with me on any of this or not.

What you do matters. It influences the world around you. It touches everything.

So if you’re genuinely OK with the way things are, I won’t show up at your door and smack you.

(I’m too lazy.)

But please. Please think it all through.

Don’t make stands that you know nothing about…

Don’t be a robot.

Learn the facts. Face the realities.

And then if you still want to be complacent, do what suits you.

But don’t be surprised when everything changes around you and you have no idea how it got that way.


Also published on Medium.