A couple of weeks ago, I posted a climate credo. Since then, the environment has been in the news cycle more often than usual: there was an emergency debate on global warming in the House of Commons, and just this week, the Prime Minister announced he was moving ahead with a nationwide (sort of) carbon tax. I guess it’s a good time to be a born-again climate advocate?
I’m mostly joking, of course — it would be infinitely better if the world didn’t need climate advocates — but I do find some optimism in the fact that people are talking about the environment more, even if the tone of those conversations isn’t always productive. It helps to bring my mission into focus; I may not always know exactly what to say, but I am pretty good at helping others to figure out how to have uncomfortable conversations.
Meanwhile, here are some of the things I’ve done to promote climate change in the past two weeks. This list is 100% NOT intended to make anyone else feel guilty about not doing enough. Think of it more like a brainstorming list. Maybe one thing on the list will plant a seed in you, giving you a clearer sense of how you, too, can help. One thing at a time is enough.
- When selling Girl Guide cookies with my daughter, I brought along a petition for people to sign, calling upon the Guides to change the recipe of their cookies to exclude palm oil.
- I wrote a couple of articles, sending one to the Halifax Chronicle-Herald and the other to The Cape Breton Post. A lot of this sort of writing is toss-into-the-wind stuff, but eventually one thing will get picked up and published, hopefully leading to a broader audience.
- At the request of 350.org, I printed out the UN’s IPCC report on the projected effects of a 1.5 degree C increase in global temperature, and dropped it off at the office of my MP, Mark Eyking. (I read it myself too.)
- I met with a board member of ACAP, the local environmentalist non-profit, to discuss ways in which I could be of use to them.
- I switched my default internet browser to Ecosia, which directs ad profits towards tree planting.
- With my seven-year-old (and my infinitely patient wife), I explored different household configurations that could help us to conserve water, or re-use grey water.
- On my birthday, I went to a presentation on solar panel installation and rebate opportunities. If you’re in Nova Scotia, I recommend you get in touch with Appleseed Energy, to find out if you can take advantage of their group order discounts. (Or message me with questions — I now know a lot about solar panels!)
- I booked my favourite local coffee shop for a couple of hours next month to run a “climate café” which is something I just made up, I guess? Basically it’ll be a public discussion about climate change, a chance for people to ask questions or explain how they feel… hopefully without slipping into partisan debate.
I’ve also read a LOT of articles and a bit from a couple of books. And I’ve talked to a lot of people. It gets easier. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable or weird — the server at the restaurant is a captive audience, and probably doesn’t need to hear about the ways reducetarianism has affected my digestive system — but mostly it feels natural to acknowledge that this (climate change) is a big deal, and it’s on our minds.
It feels… well, again, not “good” exactly. But it feels “right.” If nothing else, keeping active staves off the howling existential terror. And that’s never a bad thing!