I’m pretending the grey sky outside is winter fog and being holed up inside with my writing activities can be pleasant, but my nose recognizes the unmistakable smell of smoke, my ears listen to the whirring of my air purifier, and the AC is working overtime to keep the heat to a desirable 75F. My body feels tired despite the many hours I spent sleeping or just being in bed to escape the reality of an AQI in the hazardous zone. Maybe I am experiencing what the birds (click for link) in the southwest are, a lethargy that sets in before dying.
I’m not a bird; I have options. I work out in my workout room with the AC on full blast to give myself a temporary respite from the depression that’s creeping up on me. And it’s only been 4 days for me! Others have suffered longer, and won’t see the wild fires ending for awhile. I play the climate refugee card and prepare for getting away to another part of the world where the air quality is still in the green zone and I can walk outside without harming my health.
I’m a walker. Walking is my go-to mental health boost. If I can’t walk at home, I have to go elsewhere. The smoke from West Coast fires have forced me off the trail and cut short my long distance hiking for the summer. Not easily deterred, I will walk the distance elsewhere.
I (We) are in a battle with climate. A battle of our own making; made by those who’ve gone before us and ignored the warning signs. The ones who choose profits over preferences, gluttony over gratitude, and put callousness before caution.
I’ve saved, recycled, reduced, re-used. During the last 30 years, I’ve supported and used organic farming methods. My car is a low-emission, energy conserving vehicle. Walking is my preferred mode of transportation. I upped the insulation in the walls and attic of my house. I hand the barista a reusable cup for my drinks when I’m in a coffee/tea shop. I turn the thermostat in my house down and wear an extra wool sweater in the winter. My bathrooms have low-flush toilets. I take quick showers every third day. It is not enough.
I’ve voted, protested, and taught my children to conserve. It is not enough.
Heat waves consume the world. Fires erupt everywhere, even in the Arctic. Incessant rain turns to floods. I send messages to Congress. It is not enough.
The latest UN Climate report came out on Aug 9, 2021. Reports don’t change the reality of climate change in progress. People reaching out to each other, do. You’ll notice a force is gathering if you read beyond the headlines and follow the stories. Climate finance injects moneys into struggling economies. Following are some examples of projects happening around the globe:
In desperately poor areas of Somaliland dams and water points have improved food security and hygiene, and sustained livelihoods.
Egypt is protecting its Nile delta, home to a quarter of its population and half of its economic activity.
Jamaica is building seawalls with climate finance to secure its drinking water
Cambodia developed solar energy and reduced electricity costs by two-thirds.
Nepal, a less developed country, has drawn on international finance to improve disaster preparedness, scale-up climate smart agriculture, pioneer ecosystem-based solutions through community forest restoration and set goals for carbon-neutral tourist destinations by 2030.
I can continue listing examples but my point is, a force is gathering. Can we, the developed nations, forego our selfishness and reach out to save the planet?
I have hope that we can. Holding hands among nations is contagious, a good contagion. Holding hands with neighbors to make necessary changes can give us a sense of purpose and power we all need. Share what you do to make a difference with others:
1. Bottles to save water. Maybe you will put a bottle of water in your toilet tank to reduce water use. Maybe you can give others bottles to put in their tanks.
2. Surplus to Food banks. Maybe you can share your extra vegetables with the local food bank and feed the hungry in your community.
3. Pencils and paper for students. Maybe you can encourage your children and grandchildren to reduce their consumption as they go back to school. Donate to children who can’t buy the basics.
WE can be part of the gathering force. I feel better just writing this blog instead of staring at the smoke outside. Walk Your Talk, Turn the Tide, and Put your Heart into the battle against Climate Change. The birds will thank you.