It’s 3:48 PM on Tuesday the 16th of October, 2018. It is a beautiful day outside: the birds are singing, the sun is out, there’s a gentle breeze, and the spring flowers are astoundingly lovely. I am so grateful for nature and springtime and the sun and the clouds and the flowers! But, today, I am devastated, exhausted, and terrified.
I had been studying for a few hours and the tick of time reminded me to get my daily shot of Facebook scrolling in so I habitually popped open a new tab, clicked the F key, and hit enter. Boom, in. In under 5 seconds, I was interacting with the whole world. What did I see? The usual suspects: cats, political debates, and the like. But what was interesting to me was the substantial bulk of posts having to do with the environment, climate change, and nature. I clicked on video after video, watching them through and coming to the same conclusion – our world is dying and it’s on the brink of being too close to save.
I have taken classes on the environment, sustainability, and ethics. I am somehow the president of the SCU Sustainable Business Club that I have no idea how to run. The point is, I’m at least somewhat educated. I can spit facts out about where we’re at, about how one can help the environment, about what the benefits of not eating meat are. I’m not an expert and, in fact, I’m far from an expert. But, I’m an emotional being and I feel things deeply when I experience them. So, by 3:57 PM tears are falling from my eyes as the overwhelming sensation of hopelessness is washing over me, as if a great tsunami is growing right before my window insinuating the crashing demise that awaits me. I’m scared. I’m scared for myself, for the people who have less power than I, for the people who wake up in the morning only to find our trash washing up on their shores. I’m scared for the rich people who are too ignorant or greedy or even just stupid to realize that money won’t save them from this. I’m scared for humanity and I’m terrified because it’s up to us to save ourselves.
To be straight, factual, and very clear: Our world, Planet Earth is dying. Humans are sucking the life out of our planet exponentially faster every year, every day. We are burning forests, creating trash, consuming and producing meat, filling hills and mountains with trash, we are creating a planet of disposal. It’s as if we humans think we bought a phone that we can use and then replace with the newest model. It’s as if we don’t believe that the potential extinction of our entire race is imminent. It’s as if the fear is paralyzing us, forcing us to cast our eyes to the ground in shame and keep walking forward in life, refusing to take a stand. It is up to us, to every person to save our planet because it is dying and there is no one else who will save it for us. We are not going to fly to Mars. We cannot keep doing what we are doing. Period. Many scientists believe that the world is nearly beyond saving. We are at the precipice. We all have choices to make. Our daily lives must change, we must change, our society must change and we must make it do so.
It occurs to me that maybe we’re too late, that maybe the world is already beyond saving. This would be great in ways because we would be off the hook – we would be able to go down with the ship. But we don’t know if it’s too late or not – we still might be able to turn this thing around and that’s where the shit hits the fan. The scariest possibility to me is that the world still can be saved and that if we don’t do everything in our power to save it, it will die. I’m so overwhelmed by this. It seems kind of like the problem is too overwhelming to do anything about, so why do anything at all? But, what if the only way to literally save the world is to act in every moment with the intention that that action must save the world? What if by choosing to eat meat today, I’m just barely not making enough of an impact to reverse the end of the world? What if by choosing to create a stable life for my children and not fighting for the planet I’m actually putting them at risk of firestorms, hurricanes, earthquakes, and the unstoppable flood of trash into every nook and cranny of the world? As we use more and more resources and the world becomes less and less abundant, people will fight more, there will be more anarchy, more violence and war. People will die for our sins. So… What can we do?
Sure, there are the personal choices to stop eating meat products, create less trash, inspire those around us, or even start movements. But are these choices enough? I don’t think they are. Sure every snowball starts with one flake, so certainly these acts make a difference, but what’s really going to shift the tides? We have to change the game we’re playing. We have to escape the black void system we find ourselves in. We have to literally change everything including our own perceptions of normal before the world will accept us not as parasites but as symbiotes. We, humans, must evolve. I’m not suggesting growing gills or wings or learning how to live in space. We must evolve our minds, our mindsets, our capacity to dream bigger than we think possible. We must set out to achieve and create the tomorrows that we only are able to make if we act together, if we work hard together, if we come together as one people united by the imminent Armageddon that will rain hellfire on all of us. We must cease separating ourselves because of meaningless facets like color, intelligence, nationality, political affiliation, familial ties, gender, sexual identifications, sexual interests, level of disability, or anything else. If you are reading this, you are human. We are all humans and we must, I repeat, we absolutely must, inspire one another to act and to change the future of our shared fate to one of love, acceptance, compassion, and survival. We are all humans and we all have a moral obligation to ourselves and to our planet and to every living thing to dream big, to act big, and to make big positive changes.