Feeling helpless in the face of climate collapse?…You’re NOT! Start Now…Accept~Absorb~ACT!
(Note: Many of you who may read this are already deeply involved in environmental action, but it is my hope that this diary has value for you through supporting and verifying of your efforts.)
Very often readers on DK will express despair, despondency and hopelessness in the comments to climate posts. An all too common refrain is “…we’re fucked!” If this turns out to be correct, such venting will be partially to blame for prematurely promoting doom and impeding pro-action. This ‘surety’ doesn’t have its roots in superior knowledge, but comes from fear and ‘avoidance’ shouting down levelheadedness.
On the other hand, there are those who ask ‘what more can I do?’. This is also a form of avoidance, based in fear generated denial. The ‘Ora-google’ could easily answer this, but you ‘need’ to want to know first.
Action is a very effective way to work through these debilitating emotions. It is how I keep my brain from ‘collapsing’ in sync with climate.
Here are a few very simple and direct ways you can begin to act immediately. However, in these circumstances, ‘simple’ and ‘direct’ do not equate with ‘effortless’ and ‘convenient’, as that time is past and emergencies are neither.
Becoming productively engaged, is fundamentally a three-step process which I’ve reduced to this mantra:
“Accept, absorb, act!”
Work pro-actively to accept our rapidly altered reality as quickly as possible: depression, despair and despondency don’t help and they delay pro-action. Understand that these emotions are avatars of denial, which is trying to shield your subconscious ‘comfort zone’ from what is perceived as a threat. Ironically, this makes denial the threat…monstrously.
Absorb as much information as you can. Your life literally depends on it.
While “knowledge is power”, “a little bit can be a dangerous thing”. Years ago, when there was a dearth of climate information available to me, I had a much more pessimistic view of the probabilities of our survival. But in the last 15 years or so, I started learning about advances in technology and the concerted efforts of others, as well as a wealth of other factors which could potentially positively impact pro-active outcomes. These latter were little known, poorly understood, or in some cases, yet to be revealed. This profoundly changed my out look and broadened the scope of my environmental perspective.
Read: When I first discovered DK, I wanted to avoid reading climate posts, because the information they provided could be so upsetting. Nevertheless, I forced myself to confront theses fears because I felt it imperative to know everything I could and I knew from experience that once processed, what I learned would expand my knowledge and comprehension, empowering me to environmentally ‘up my game’. For me, not knowing is more frightening than knowing, because ignorance supercharges a fear-fueled imagination and it becomes a vortex.
So, I recommend reading every Climate post on DK that you can and when possible, dive into the links to the other sources that they provide. Get up to speed aggressively. We are incredibly fortunate to have a highly informed, committed and responsible group of deeply concerned individuals both posting and commenting regularly on Daily Kos, providing an invaluable opportunity to access their expertise and knowledge.
Talk: If you do not already do so, and it is my experience that most people don’t, talk to others about this crisis. Spread the word and learn to weed out misinformation.
Cut consumption: We have been conditioned for over 70 years now to consume without questioning this consumption, as if it is an autonomic bodily function. We are essentially consumer junkies and ‘runaway consumption’ is in a dead heat with ‘runaway greenhouse’.
Man over-consumes, because when there was fresh Mastodon we ate as much as we could, not knowing when we would eat next. Now we have ‘mastodon’ available 24/7 and the ‘ON’ switch is jammed.
We have lost any workable perspective as to what true necessities are. Work your way back to these (before they’re gone) and deal with your malaise more constructively by discovering more healthy interests than ‘zombie’ shopping.
Conserve: Always buy and consume mindfully. 50% of the food in this country gets wasted. Most everything we buy ends up in a landfill within a decade or two. Think about where your trash goes, especially plastic, which is now found at the poles, in the Marianna Trench, on the summit of the Himalayas and in most organisms, including babies. Buy well made items, as they last longer. Reduce, recycle, repair and repurpose, while avoiding whims, trends and ‘comfort’ purchases.
Change: Be mindful of ALL your actions! We are now in a ‘war zone’’…Act accordingly.
Discard ‘convenience’. Climate Collapse will crush it soon enough, so get used to extra effort and adjust to sacrifice now. I have been immersed in personal environmental responsibility for most of my life and it has made it a richer and more productive one. My ongoing environmental awareness has helped me maintain my daily self-awareness and sense of place in the world, which is inestimably valuable long term. While it has involved sacrifice, it fosters opportunities that more than compensate. Ease should not be a goal as it is a form of sloth and luxury is toxic. ‘Convenience’ is a Madison Avenue construct created to seduce and enslave us as ‘consumer livestock’.
Support: Recommend and leave constructive comments for climate posts. Avoid using comments for venting feelings of despondency and doom. These are self defeating, disrupt constructive dialogue and undermine the pro-active determination of others. Those of us that are actively involved in spreading awareness have enough to cope with absorbing climate information so we can share it. Our diaries are not meant to be landfills for your untethered emotions. How Pakalolo and MB are able to deal with this on the level they do stuptifies me. We are by no means any less emotionally vulnerable to these horrors than anyone else. Please respect these efforts and be sensitive, kind and considerate.
Find ways to contribute positively to the efforts others are making elsewhere. Join and/or donate to the the plethora of environmental organizations and individuals already engaged in this battle.
Every effort has value, whether large or small, but be honest and truly contribute to your limit.
Our government will only do things when we pressure it to; it’s the ‘squeaky wheel’ syndrome. Even the best intentioned politicians ( and we have a plethora on our side) have ‘groaning’ agendas and unless pushed to act, will stay focused on whatever else is demanding their attention.
Voting for pro-environmental candidates, although essential, is “not enough to say you care” and 2025 may be past the point of no return environmentally. So we cannot remain environmentally inactive while we wait for them or someone else to take charge. That is up to us to do, and it begins with taking personal responsibility, changing your priorities and stepping up.
This crisis will not simply go away and there is no escape hatch. While it can still seem once removed, enabling avoidance, when it comes knocking on your door, your perspective will change in a flash. Don’t wait for that to happen and regret not having done enough; regret it now and do as much as you can as soon as you can.
Control your emotions and channel them into action. We have precious little time, having wasted so much through denial, procrastination and indifference.
Ignoring or overriding science is MAGA (Making Academics Go Away), so don’t let your fears make you guilty of thinking you know more than the scientists studying climate. Or perhaps you believe the scientists but think things are hopeless because people will never become reactive? By defaulting to this endemic species cynicism you become the people you have no faith in. See that for what it is: avoidance deflection based in our species PTSD.
Master your fears, or bow to them.
As adults , it is our responsibility to engage in climate awareness and do whatever possible to help stave off environmental collapse. Survival is our primary biological imperative and there is no excuse for shirking it. The weak despair, while the strong rally.
It is of no value pointing blame elsewhere and then doing nothing. While the wealth and power interests are directly to blame for much of this, we, as consumers are in a symbiotic relationship with them and enable their crimes. Our self-centered greed creates corporations and grotesque lopsided wealth. We ‘own’ this crisis and it is incumbent upon us to act, no matter how hopeless things appear. That action begins with ourselves. Accept, absorb, ACT!
(I was asked in comments for more specific ideas for ‘things we can do’, so I am providing this link to my first ever DK post, as it covers it reasonably well.)