Blog Action Day 2009 – Climate Change

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With such a broad topic, it’s hard to know where to begin. So, I’m just going to wing this. I was told about Blog Action Day (BAD) about a week ago and asked if I would write something about Climate Change. As those around me know, I don’t ever have to be asked to talk about this subject. I bring it up, without question, more often than others may prefer.  It’s a subject that makes a lot of people feel uncomfortable. And I can understand.

We hear so much about the so-called “climate controversy”. It’s in the morning paper and on the nightly news. We are led to believe that science “can’t be sure” if human activity is to blame for the rapidly changing temperature over the past few decades. And even those sources that will admit that we are the problem then suggest that it is either too late or too expensive to fix. We don’t know what to believe.  We’re afraid of taking a stand for or against something that might, potentially make us look stupid. And I can understand that too.

I can understand all these feelings because I’ve experienced them all.  And some days I still do. Over the past few years I’ve experienced a roller coaster of environmental emotions.  My Dad has always worked in the Oil and Gas sector. We would fight about these things but, as a teenager, it was more about being rebellious and argumentative with him. Years later, we still don’t see eye to eye but my vision on our different sides is clearer.  I know where I stand and how I feel about changing my behavior.  He is complacent.  In response to me suggesting that if we didn’t change, we wouldn’t have anywhere to live he said, “well, we had a good run”. I know he jokes. I understand. And I don’t expect to ever change his mind.  What has changed is that he no longer actively argues with me. He supports me in my decisions and never has that been more evident as with my new career path and volunteer opportunities.

I have become a hardcore documentary watcher.  And I think it’s important to recognize how these images make us feel. Having a soft spot for animals, I used to start crying every time we drove by roadkill on the way to the farm.  I manage to contain myself a little better now but to see an animal hurt affects me deeply. For many years I avoided watching any nature show in fear of seeing a lion catch a gazelle for dinner. I can now accept that this is a part of the cycle of life and I (usually) manage to not tear up. Shows like Whale Wars or movies such as The Cove are a different story entirely though. These acts are not part of the cycle of life and I typically enter the ‘snot-running-down-my-nose-blubbering-fool’ phase. I can’t help it. If it embarrasses you, don’t go to the movies with me.

What I’ve been finding lately though is that I am able to watch more and more shows that, albeit upsetting, are important to our survival. And in all honesty, I come out of that movie feeling overwhelmed; the problems seem too big, the solutions too momentous. I have these moments all the time. But then I shake them off and get back to life; recycling what I can, riding the bus, conserving water and energy and…much to their chagrin…telling everyone I can about what I’ve seen and how we can all make a difference.

I hope you will do the same.

Iao Valley, Maui HI

Iao Valley, Maui HI

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