Chetna Prakash is ditching her slacktivist approach to combatting climate change and taking some direct action (no, not THAT kind of direct action…)
I was in second grade when I first heard of the term “global warming”. A friend and I were poring over maps and wondering about the polar ice caps when someone – it may have been my friend’s elder sister – mentioned it to us. The earth is warming because there is more CO2 in the environment, eventually it will cause the polar ice caps to melt, and the earth will be submerged. I didn’t find it a very difficult concept to grasp. (Yes, I was a terrifyingly bright kid.)
My seven-year-old self thought it entirely plausible. I wondered how long it would take. I was absolutely convinced that that I’d have nothing to worry about during my lifetime. I also figured at least four generations after me would be safe. I bandied a few numbers around and decided that five million years is how long it would take for humanity to be in peril, and calmly went back to finding Poland in the Atlas.
I guess I wasn’t that bright a kid after all, because here I am ,all of 35, reading about how the earth is on the brink of a sixth mass extinction event thanks to climate change (the term into which “global warming” has morphed). The article didn’t arrive on my FB newsfeeds via Global Green & Left Fortnightly. No, it can be sourced to Washington Post and it has forced me to contend with the fact that I am doing next to nothing in this fight for the very survival of our planet – of our beautiful, bountiful, gorgeously green, blue and pink planet.
Here’s my contribution towards the fight to get our governments, industries and societies to accept that we have to change the way we source, produce and consume energy.
- I “like” every article that arrives on my newsfeeds to show that I care.
- I “share” some such articles in the hope that it will stir others into action. Mind you, I don’t sign petitions on the subject or “share” them asking others to sign, because I am terrified of coming across as a rabid, humorless environmentalist on my carefully crafted FB page.
- I always high-five my partner when someone from the government gets rogered in Q&A for being a climate change denier.
It isn’t because I don’t believe in the science. I have believed in the science since I was seven years old because that is about as much intelligence that is required to understand it. I haven’t done anything about it because it seems too big, too frightening, too paralysing to contemplate. In the last few years, I have even stopped reading articles on the subject.
All the while, I have been hoping that my “liking” and “sharing” will somehow convince governments around the world that we want them to tackle the issue head on: to penalize dirty fuel, incentivise renewables and set out the new rules of conduct for all of us to follow in order to nurse earth back to health. Let’s face it, I have been following the “Lazy Girl’s Guide to Combating Climate Change.”
So here are my new rules of conduct for myself:
- I will talk about it with my friends in person and not just on Facebook. It sounds simple. In fact, it is pretty confronting to ask your Liberal Party-supporting friends from Canterbury whether they believe in climate change, whether they worry about their children’s future in an increasingly unpredictable planet, and what they intend to do about it in a non-ironic, sincere way.
- I will start reading “GetUp” campaigns on climate change (not just hurriedly liking them), signing the petitions, and “share” those petitions on Facebook even at the very grave risk of appearing humourless, and alarmist. Heck, I am alarmed.
- I will join protests in person to show that I believe in the science of “climate change” and I want the government to work energetically towards reducing our carbon emissions.
- I will finally change my power company to PowerShop, which has been ranked as the greenest power company in Australia by Greenpeace.
- I hereby vow never to vote for the Liberal Party until its members admit openly that climate change is real and we have do whatever it takes to fight it. Even if I agreed with everything they ever said on taxes, social welfare, asylum seekers and terrorists running amok, this has become my make-or-break point of contention with the Party.
If any of you have any good suggestions, similar experiences, climate change-related existential crisis to share, tweet me on my Twitter account @Mumbai2Melby.