'The (person) who moves mountains begins by carrying away small stones'
The world may have been busy ending while we were watching Netflix. But damned if we can't have our world and our Netflix too...
If we are nearing the brink of impending environmental collapse, then why isn't somebody doing something?! A better question is, why isn't everybody doing something?
The simple answer is - you are somebody. Do something.
The complex answers to why we are not collectively doing something, might be;
1) The zombie apocalypse hasn't happened yet
2) I am just one person and one person can't do much
3) we are all doomed anyway and
4) I don't know what to do so I will go back to doing nothing.
If social media is providing a current compass of where our collective thinking is on the issue of impending environmental collapse - there is every indication that young people are waiting for a zombie apocalypse to come, so that they have an excuse to put their phones down and take control of their lives.
That is how far we are removed from reality.
And if you don't believe me, go and ask a young person (preferably under 20) what their contingency plans are for a zombie apocalypse, and get back to me if they don't have one. I am willing to bet that they do. Generation X, Y or XY (depending on who you ask) are a generation who have mostly grown up completely removed from their natural environment. Their knowledge of picking up a trowel and planting their own food is likely as their level of knowledge about how to board a space ship and fly it to the moon.
It is just not a skill that has been needed in the 2010's.
Similarly, the idea that we are in control of what happens in our immediate environment seems to have died a rapid death, alongside the growth of meme's about how hopeless life is, and how quickly we can be 'triggered' to just go off and end it. Meme's about suicide and clinical depression abound. Answers to what we are going to do about the big problems are eerily absent. But history has taught us that one person can do a lot. And therefore the power of the solution rests only with one person at a time. If one person takes action, they will influence another person to take action, which will result in group action, which we know from experience,will result in mass cultural change, and local results that can culminate in complete global change. Because one person can move one stone, and although many stones make up the mountain, you only need to move one stone at a time. Keep reading... so now what?
The rapid state of environmental change on our planet over the last few years is something that frankly scares the shit out of me - and I know that a lot of mothers (and fathers) feel the same.
For the first time in history, the dialogue has rapidly shifted from
'there might be a problem here' to
'there's a big problem. .. but we have some time left to fix it' to
'damn, this problem is moving faster than we thought!' to now
'it might already be too late'
Um ... what?!
Hold on a second.
When the heck did this happen?
Sometime between the invention of Facebook (yes! we can find any person we want, whenever we want!) and the introduction of Netflix (Netflix marathons, OITNB binges, Gilmore Girls re-runs for days...). Between discovering the magic that is Skyping our friends across the planet (or just up the road), discovering that working an extra couple of hours a week is completely worth it if we get to sit around in coffee shops of a morning with chai frappe's with an iphone and a portable charger, checking for instagram updates. In between all bit neglecting the largely outdated free-to-air tv, and forgetting how to sew our own clothes (that lasted sometimes for several generations, rather than a month or two) and also forgetting that food is free (it mostly comes off trees or out of the ground, and we can grow it right here at our own house...).
While we weren't watching, we all jumped on an iceberg that was melting, and unwittingly drifted away from a lifestyle that was sustainable for more than one generation.
We forgot important things while we were caught up in the excitement of an unprecedented avalanche of new things.
And who could blame us?
Did the cavemen have Netflix? Did the founding fathers (and mothers) of countries have Facebook updates and the ability to share ideas for the first time ever, with people all over the world, in a matter of milliseconds? Did adolescents in the dark ages have the ability to escape the confines of their circumstances, and create new and exciting persona's on an international medium? Could teenagers before us, create new versions of themselves where they could be who they liked, how they liked? Where pubescent boys could be mistaken for men, and not only access pictures of girls in short skirts, but video's of anybody, anywhere, doing pretty much anything imaginable?
Did any generation before us, have access to what would only have previously been described as magical devices, that had the ability to transport us (or versions of us) to other worlds, and other places, to think, see and feel things like they had never been felt before?
No. But we have.
And in that excitement, the real world, and the fragile ecosystem in which we exist, and depend on for our very survival, has been neglected. We weren't looking at it. We were learning new things, and doing new things, and forgetting old things. And this is where we are at now.
With lots of problems...
The Great Barrier Reef is either on death row, or already mostly dead. On the 14th of October 2016, the Telegraph reported that if the Great Barrier Reef was a person, "it would be on life support". The arctic is warming faster than any previous projections. Climate change has been identified as the reason that 21.5 million people annually have been displaced from their homes (and many of these people becoming environmental refugees) since 2008 , due to 'weather-related sudden onset hazards' , and the projections are that it is going to get much worse very quickly. In the 'Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report Summary for Policymakers' it is stated that 'human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of green-house gases are the highest in history...many of the observed changes are unprecedented and... surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century under all assessed emission scenarios'. It is stated that 'it is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last for longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense...the oceans will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea levels will rise'.
In very simple terms, if we don't act immediately, and start living our lives differently the world is going to get super hot, species (including us) will continue to die out at unprecedented rates. Everything will become more polluted than what it already is, and environmental refugees will keep increasing - with tens of millions of people each year finding themselves in need of a new place to call home.
At times it feels like the problems are too big.
We were born in to this mess that is the planet in its current state. But the way that we are living our lives now is a big part of the problem. If the world ran out of oil tomorrow and our reliance on modern industry stopped completely, the world would instantly change. Which means that we are capable of making changes now.
We can make a difference - and for the love of our children, we are going to try!
If you are with me ... I have some ideas! If you have come this far, I have the feeling that you might have some ideas too ... Keep reading...
We are a family of 6 creatives, homeschooling/ unschooling and trying our best to live a minimalist life in our own slice of paradise on the coast of Australia - Artist Mama, Guitarist Papa, Surfie Teen, Satirical Teen, Musician Teen and Wild Little One. Welcome to our life..