1) Don’t cough! People might think you are an alarmist!
Friday Nov 17th, turned out to have the worst air quality day in San Francisco history.
I drove up to San Francisco because my daughter had collapsed from the smoke and brought to a hospital by paramedics.
The thing that I noticed most was the sound of coughing.
But the people didn’t even seem to notice they are coughing.
You just hear the sound wherever you go. Cough. Cough. Cough. I hear a group of teen tourists on the street exclaiming, “Don’t make me laugh, I’ll start coughing!” And then they all giggle. And cough. The sound is as if I walked into a smokers convention, into a conference hall filled with the thick cloud of smoke and people who had hacking coughs for years and were in complete denial.
It’s the collective denial I’m worried about. The long, slow murmurs of coughs, as if people are trying to consciously be quiet, so as not to disturb others. Because god forbid the sound of coughing becomes loud enough to worry about. People might sound like they are alarmists.
San Francisco and vicinity is a cautionary tale. Climate change is a thing, and it is affecting us all. If we all work together—there are solutions. But we have to start now. It is up to us to sound the alarm and put in place real change as soon as possible.
—From The New World Order: Air You Can’t Breathe by Lisa Hickey
2) Have we reached the height of schmuckhood yet? Can we stop now?
Most scientists agree that our time on this lovely and generous world is being drastically reduced due to our bad choices. It’s really that simple. We are in the midst of an epidemic of thoughtless choice making—we are stricken with a merciless case of brain diarrhea that is keeping us from thinking clearly. Look at the state of the world and dare to say I’m wrong.
I believe that we’re actually too afraid to look at the state of the world. It’s terrifying to awaken the awareness of how we are corrupting the balance of our biosphere with our false exceptionalism. If we did look, it would force us to change our ways. That’s the last thing we want to do. We cling tight to our worldview of unending growth and an insatiable consumption far beyond our needs. Our good credit scores and mindless purchasing power are like a prayer of protection against the inevitable. “Buy one, get one free! Amen.”
The freedom to do as we please is revered in the West. But should we be free to be irresponsible schmucks? Should we be free to use up everything and leave only toxic scraps for our children and grandchildren because we don’t have the grit to honor the future generations?
We’ve reached the heights of irresponsible schmuck-hood, I’m afraid.
— From Tod Evans, Why Are We Choosing to Be Irresponsible Schmucks?
3) It is estimated that by 2040, 200 million people will be forced to migrate to have sustainable food to eat.
Places that used to grow lots of our food are now experiencing less regular consistent rain. Not only that, in the winter, rain falls on mountaintops and becomes snow and ice and ice pack and that ice pack melts during the summer. In an ideal world, that ice pack becomes rivers that we use during the year. Well, that’s no longer happening. We’re no longer getting that snow, the snow that brings the water, and as a result, arable land is disappearing.
What was once good land—well, without rain, without regular rain, without snow, without the rivers to maintain it—arable land has now begun to disappear. The migrations that we’re seeing from South America are partly a result of this. Those are farmers no longer have places to farm, so mass migration becomes a desperate option.
This migration you’re seeing from South America to North America is just the beginning and doesn’t even scratch the surface of how many people will be affected. It is estimated that by 2040, 200 million people all over the world will be forced to migrate someplace else to have sustainable food to eat.
— From one of our Wednesday Night ConvoCasts: When Arable Land Disappears, Over 200 Million People Might Get Displaced. Let’s Solve This. With Thaddeus Howze and Carol Bluestein
*What’s a ConvoCast, you ask? It’s like a podcast, but you’re in it.
4) Ask yourself this. Would you take an action if you knew that in some unknown place, someone you didn’t know would die as a result?
If we don’t collectively start acting to solve environmental issues, someone you don’t know will surely die. And eventually that ‘someone you don’t know’ will be someone you do know. You may even eventually realize what it means to be ‘next in line’.
We are all Norma. The truth we don’t want to face is that the box is in our hands.
— Norma is from a Twilight Zone episode called “The Button”. Read “Environmental Issues, Meet the Twilight Zone”.
5) Here is something easy you can do! Talk about the environment every day.
I had another environmental conversation yesterday while ordering lunch. Let me preface this by acknowledging that I know that I should not drink soda! Haha. Okay, now that I have cleared that up…I ordered a soda with lunch, immediately showing the cashier my stainless steel pint glass, telling her I wanted to use it instead of the single use disposable cups they normally provide. I used to be afraid to do something like this, but now I do not even ask. Instead, I show the cup and tell the person I am speaking with that I am going to use this cup instead, if it is okay with them, because I want to reduce trash by using a reusable cup. Depending on how they react, I tell them my aversion to single use items, how I hate generating trash.
In this instance, she replied that what I said made sense, agreeing that the cups were wasteful and commenting that we live in a disposable world. I told her that I am working to change that, one cup at a time. She smiled and said that since I was using my own cup, she would not charge me for the drink.
— Read more from Zero Waste Guy Jonathan Levy “Talk About the Environment Every Day“
6) We cannot think about the environment as a separate issue, as a subset of politics or justice. It is rather, everything.
I believe that environmental justice IS social justice. It is that fundamental. There is no environment AND us, there is just the environment that we are deeply and inextricably participative with.
In the same way that we cannot go out into the environment, we are already in it. The heart of New York is as much the environment as the heart of the Amazon. We cannot think about the environment as a separate issue, as a subset of politics or justice. It is rather, everything.
The belief in the separation from the environment and that it is simply there as a set of resources to be used. Or the belief that we are the most advanced life form and sit at the top of the pyramid. Or even the beliefs that we know best and that humans come first.
All of these things are aspects of patriarchy.
— Read more by Neill Hill: “Environmental Justice is Social Justice“
7) There are simple ways we can build sustainability through mindfulness.
Take on one thing a week, and don’t get overwhelmed.
Mindfulness can go a long way when you want to form better sustainable habits. Switch off the lights when you leave a room, turn off the tap when you are brushing your teeth, and lower the thermostat a few degrees. Small decisions we make every day can make a huge impact on the amount of resources we consume.
And planting trees can benefit the earth for many years to come, even extending well beyond your own lifetime. Plant trees in your yard, at local parks, and anywhere else you can get permission to make a huge impact on the world around you. If we all made an effort to rebuild this vital part of the “lungs” of the planet, we’d all literally breathe a lot easier.
— Read more from Anthony Simone “Think Smaller to Make a Bigger, Sustainable Impact“.
8) A Wisconsin teacher uses an essay about wolves to teach teen boys about empathy and environmentalism.
What does shooting wolves have to do with rivers?
A few minutes later, I brought the students back together and asked several to share their questions. After the one about rivers, Cody raised his hand. I called on him. “Shooting wolves causes the deer population to increase,” he began, in a descending monotone, as if nothing that school presented him with could ever be difficult to unravel. “Then the deer browse the plants on the mountain, killing them. The roots of the plants are what hold the mountain together. So without wolves, eventually the mountain dies.”
— Read more from Jill Sisson Quinn “What Does Shooting Wolves Have to do with Rivers?“
9) Understand the ‘Carbon Bubble’. And why hearing it POP is a good thing.
One thing is for sure, only those governments which have invested in the clean energy from air, sun, and water, will have any chance of survival. Those which insist on fossil fuels are taking the long view. Betting that the world cycled before and it’ll cycle again, forgetting previous cycles wiped out life on this planet.
In taking the long view and burning gas, coal, and oil with no end in sight, investors are pouring money into the fossil fuel industry, counting on oil fields, pipelines, coal mines, and fracking to be the fuels of choice. Their portfolios are fat and they plan to hand their children the profits from their investments. This is called, the Carbon Bubble.
That sound you just heard is the “POP” of the Carbon Bubble. Investors, think of it as the Fossil Fuel Industry’s Housing Bubble. Too complicated? Think of Fossil Fuel as Bernie Maddow — big promises, no returns. Why? The ground reserves will never, can never be used if we are to survive.
The Fossil Fuel industry knows this. To counter the inevitable, there is Fuel Rush on to pump, sell, and burn as much as possible as soon as possible. Build the pipelines. Foul clean water. Ignore tribal lands and treaties. Let the permafrost thaw as quickly as possible so Putin can extract and sell the oil before it’s too late. The overall philosophy — make money while there is still time.
— Read more from Carol Bluestein: “Global Warming and the Carbon Bubble: A Reality Check“
10) Consider the Seven R’s (all 7!): reduce, recycle, reuse, respect, refuse, respect, rethink and repair.
REFUSE is the first step we need to consider before we even buy anything.
Can we refuse to buy something?
Do we NEED it?
Part of the struggle is the idea we are a consumer society, used to buying things, even if we don’t always need them.
— Read more from Thaddeus Howze: What Can an Individual Do to Reduce the Stress We Have on the Earth?
11) It’s Up to Us to Make Sure ‘The End of the World’ Does Not Become Old News.
There is no new normal. What this meant to me is that the world *as we know it* has already ended. That doesn’t mean the world has actually ended (it has not). Or that we won’t survive the catastrophic changes that are sure to come (I believe we will). But it does mean—as Alex Steffen points out so eloquently—we have reached a point of no return. There is no foreseeable point when we can get back to stability.
This is not in any way to imply that we should throw up our hands in hopeless despair. It means quite the contrary. We must accelerate our efforts, at breakneck speed. We must solve the problems we can solve today, and work towards solving problems we don’t yet know how to solve.
12) Stop buying products with plastic microbeads
Some plastics are so small you won’t be able to see them, or you may not even know they are in your products already! These little buggers are called microbeads, which are teeny tiny plastic pieces, usually two millimeters or less, that are made of polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA0 or nylon (aka all plastic). We don’t really understand why, but many companies have added these to all sorts of products–face wash, acne treatments, toothpaste, shampoos, conditioners, body washes, and many more.
The issue with these microbeads goes beyond their mysterious purpose in your products. After you use them in the shower or head into the water after applying sunscreen, the tiny bits of plastic wash off and enter our waterways or oceans. The bits of plastic are so small that wastewater treatment plants can’t filter them out, leading to large amounts of small plastic heading to marine ecosystems downstream from us. From there, marine animals will start to consume the tiny plastics, voluntary or involuntary, and the plastic will build up inside of them. But it gets worse, as small fish consume microplastics, they will eventually be eaten by bigger fish, and the plastic will begin to bioaccumulate. By the time that humans end up eating the fish, there is a good chance that the microplastics are inside of the fish we eat too!
— Read more from EarthHero: 6 Steps to Ditching Plastic
13) Remember, we’re #GreenerTogether. Share Our Memes!
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