Gloomsters, hopesters, slackers and activists…which one are you? Maybe you feel like each different one some days (don’t worry deniers this one is NOT for you… )
ok…. you guys, the amazing folks who have been working on raising climate awareness for decades but you are feeling a bit tired and fed up with it all… this is for you…
i initially wrote a version of this post to a friend on Facebook. but since then i have found I needed to share some of these ideas with others on twitter, and in real life. 🙂 everyone needs to be uplifted and reenergised as we hit crunch time in the climate protection fight. so here you go:
dear tired climate activist,
i am going to have to start rebutting you and your gloominess as actively as i do my climate-change denying pals. humanity is not doomed. it’s in dire peril, i admit, but i am on the case now and i am pretty sure that i am part of a growing movement of awareness-raising, solutions-focused, info-graphic wielding, general public, and i am also part of a growing movement of engineers and non-pure-scientists sensitively taking up the technical concerns of how we are going to protect our world.
if you look at your comments, even when you write gloomy things, you do sprinkle hope throughout… so as a fellow scientist i encourage you to update your executive summary/one liners! put the hope up front.
looking for inspiration and motivation? as i state in my presentation about talking to kids about climate and environment it’s up to us adults to find our optimism to enable the kids voices to lead change. young people are one of my greatest sources of hope as they know A LOT about climate and can teach adults about it. they learn about the science in school, and they understand how important finding solutions to protect our climate is, because its their future we are working to protect. but we all need to be teaching ourselves more about the solutions, which will require more than just renewable energy and reducing resource use. inspiring youth led climate action includes thisiszerohour.org, aycc.org and MANY other groups of amazing young people who share personal stories and articulate social-justice based climate solutions.
want to know where to find out more about potential solutions? how about Healthy Climate Alliance ? sure, we are well over our safe atmospheric co2 concentrations. we are going to need to accelerate the transition to renewable energy and invest in ecologically sensitive geoengineering or optimal land-use or other techniques to remove carbon from the atmosphere. a bit scary I know, but also exciting and challenging. not even climate scientists are experts in climate rehabilitation so I encourage you to check out Healthy Climate Alliance or similar. or how about drawdown.org and their 100 solutions to reverse global warming, many solutions of which deal with carbon sequestration. i feel so fortunate that my climate activist journey coincided with the release of project drawdown’s excellent body of work with a road map and inspiration to get to the point where carbon in the atmosphere will drawdown.
I feel that as an engineer + ecologist + science communicator I am well poised to help the world make some of the big and tough decisions we are going to have to make. confronting climate change, its mitigation and adaptation is not without grief. we have already lost amazing animals and people to changing climate. but there is hope that we are going to turn this around in the next few years because we have to. but as part of that we need to make sure people are all doing their part to make and inspire change. the biggest challenge still appears to be getting global action. leading with “we are all doomed” without a reference or link or any need to say that in the first place is going to switch people off from trying to make change!!
it is ok to coast and to give up (preferably while still eating predominantly plant based diets and reducing refusing and reusing) when you have been struggling so long to get the world to listen but don’t be an agent to make people tune out, as i blame an article that was a bit too gloomy for disempowering me when i could have been forging ahead.
for every gloomster there is a hopester. maybe that’s what a hipster really is. none of this “good one humanity” please. there are so many bright, bright lights and inspiring people that we have to keep seeing the light and i really think that the pursuit of joy and happiness rather than the running from the darkness is going to be the energy that gets us through. sustainability is attractive
don’t let the global warming deniers get you down, we can solve this despite the deniers we just need to activate the believers who are not doing enough to make change, we need to turn some more of these slackers into activists. we don’t need to convince everyone to pay attention to climate, just enough people.
like a university student who does their best work the night before an assignment is due, i believe that it is now that we are noticing global heat waves, and hearing of and seeing our precious reefs bleaching that we are going to see a global movement for change. just in the nick of time, but building on all the work that has gone before.
my friend Dr Tammra Warby paints a kind of solutions focused optimism that helps you find solutions even in dark times, and it is this optimism that i champion. one led by the ability to seek out and cherish what we love, that my favourite author Regena Thomashauer writes of – using pleasure to have our way with the world. for i believe in imagining the world we want we work towards that. don’t dwell on the dangers, acknowledge them, and then cherish what it is that we are protecting, and protect it. our kids’ future.
About the author:
Dr Heidi Edmonds is an ecologist / environmental engineer with a PhD in freshwater ecology who is currently a freelance research scientist while raising two young children. As a science communicator and a mother, she is especially interested in making climate science and climate action accessible, simple and easy to understand for more people. Check out her blog at climatekiss.com (www.climatekiss.com)