Journalist and educator Simran Sethi discusses why and how we engage, and how we can listen to, and learn from, other points of view. Everyone concerned about climate change, and working for a better future for our children, should listen to her wisdom.
More and more concerned and informed people around the world are becoming aware of the bad news about climate change – our polar ice caps are melting, carbon dioxide and other climate change-inducing emissions in our atmosphere are rising unchecked, our weather is becoming increasingly unstable and “weird”, political instability and wars over shrinking water and food supplies are a reality in Darfur and are looming just around the corner for the rest of us, and the list goes on. As Energy Bulletin said recently:
How do we handle Peak Oil AND climate change? …You know we are going to run out of civilization’s life-blood: fossil fuels. And if we burn what’s left, the climate will tip into a mass extinction event. Meanwhile, barking madness seems to be the only growth industry. Is it time for more pills, booze, or end-time religion?
But before you throw up your hands in despair and/or seek refuge in the aforementioned escapes, let’s talk about the “good” news. For example:
If you need more hope than I’ve given you here, I recommend reading “The Geography of Hope: A Tour of the World We Need” by Calgary author Chris Turner. Turner was inspired by the birth of his young daughter to spend a year traveling around the world exploring what sustainability really means. As Turner writes in the introduction to the book:
Life is not an either/or proposition, and it’s always a bit melodramatic to reduce it to any single choice. Still, this is as close to the fundamental crossroads as humanity’s ever come, and the implications of our choice of path are global in scale and monumental in impact…
The front pages of the newspaper may look like bad news, an ominous and intractable mess – storm clouds on the horizon, the four horsemen at the gate – but the back pages and the margins are filled with solutions. Tools and technologies, organizations and ideas – everything we need to avoid catastrophe. And they lead to a better way of life. That’s maybe the most surprising, electrifying thing about this geography of hope: it beats what we have now, even if our climate wasn’t compelling us to change.
The world we need: it all exists. It only took a year to find. And anything that exists is possible.
To be part of the generation that beat climate change: this is possible.
Here is Chris Turner in Calgary, the heart of Alberta oil country, giving a talk entitled “The Great Leap Sideways” (via ZeroCarbonCanada’s website):