To be honest, it gets my blood boiling. When I see a trash can overflowing with cans upon bottles upon pieces of paper. My mind races to all the ways that our future is suffocating in these rotting, sagging, piles of trash, screaming to be saved.
I used to have this cute tote bag that was white with a big bold colored earth on the side and a reduce, reuse, recycle logo on it. It was trendy at the time. I got it from Rue 21, also trendy at the time. I was 15, thought that following the crowd was cool, and sporting my “love the earth” themed tote bag was going to make me well-liked.
What I didn’t know then is how important choosing to support such matters actually was. I was trying to be cool. My ignorant 15 year old brain didn’t actually think about what I was supporting at the time and why it was so important to be supporting it.
You can also bet that I wasn’t as Earth loving as my 15 year old self thought I was. All I wanted to be was trendy and accepted.
And trendy now it is ,or as it is thought to be. Is it trendy, or is it just that people are finally listening and genuinely supporting it? I’m realizing that regardless, I support fighting the climate crisis because I actually legitimately fear for the future of our beautiful planet. And I fear for humanity as well.
I find that I get noticeably irritable when people directly and intentionally do not recycle. I get overwhelmed by the sheer reality that they aren’t thinking about that can or that bottle at all and what it means for the future. In fact, they are completely clueless and mindless of the whole situation.
I get depressed. I feel like dark clouds continuously roll through my mind’s eye of the view of the beauty of this earth forever encapsulating it with their darkness.
This is how I feel about the destruction of our planet, and frankly, I don’t believe that I am alone in this. In fact, I hope that I’m not alone in this. The climate crisis is real, and we really do need to start doing something about it.
We need to do something about it, and not give a damn about how people perceive us “crazy climate freaks”.
And yes, all of this is good and all to say. It’s actually important to keep saying and to keep saying it loudly for all to hear, because we need to do something. However, the thing that I realized that drives my passion for the climate crisis even more than the actual destruction of our planet (though this does weigh incredibly heavy on my mind) is that we can’t actually do anything about it unless we truly and fully understand why the climate crisis is a reality in the first place.
When I think about how furious and melancholic I get when I think about the destruction of our planet, I realize that for me, it goes beyond just the fact that we are destroying the planet.
It’s easy to say that we want to change things. That we should just decrease our plastic use or that we should eat less meat or that we should take public transportation more often (though these are all extremely good things and are all things that I do practice), but as I said, this goes beyond the surface level of turning things around.
When you think about how much plastic is in our oceans, how much food ends up in the trash, and how much pollution inhabits our daily air, like truly think about it, all of this derives from an issue that causes a much larger problem, and it is something that is caused by the reality that it’s all psychological.
Why do we use single use plastic? Why do we drive our cars almost everywhere? Why do we throw away clothes once they get one singular hole in them? Why do we eat meat every day and some even multiple times a day? Because it is more convenient and because it is pleasurable.
When I read the news, I’ll admit that it is hard to not feel depressed and as though life is losing both hope and its meaning. In a society where we are constantly faced with the realities of our sinful nature as human beings (war, murder, poverty, corporate greed, etc.), it’s hard to not feel like we should turn to consuming to fill the voids that we feel or to pull ourselves away from the ever so much more demanding world that we live in.
For me the climate crisis is not just a crisis of climate. It is also a crisis of humanity. Our world is the way that it is now because we’ve started operating on a system: consume, consume, consume, and then consume some more. Capitalism has turned our societies into a hungry money monster that only has one goal: profit. So, we are convinced to consume and to consume some more despite the fact that for many people (and yes I recognize that there are many people out there that this doesn’t apply to) have everything that they need, like actually need.
But yet they still somehow turn to consuming and consuming even more. We’ve lost touch with ourselves and with each other. We are trying to fill a void, and all the while destroying our planet as well as ourselves.
We’ve become so dissatisfied with just fulfilling our needs, with just having things be simple. Now, I’ll admit that it is difficult to maintain an appreciation for the simple life when we are constantly bombarded with the reality that at least one person somewhere has a much better life than we do and that we can have so much more with just a few clicks of a few buttons. I understand the very real reality of FOMO. I, too, honestly, struggle with this. It’s hard not to when perfectly curated photos are on constant display on my Instagram feed.
Everything is presented to us in a way that simultaneously shows that we both don’t have enough but that we also have the power to have enough, or at least the power to feel like we have enough.
But we have to remember and embrace the reality that it’s never enough, because we cannot fill our voids or heal our souls or be the best people that we can be by consuming at the level that we are. Of course, our mere existence requires consumption. We have to eat and to clothe ourselves to survive, but the level of consumption that we are currently indulging is entirely unnecessary. And it’s leading us down a path where we feel constantly discontent with what we do have and what we have been blessed with.
Now, I’m not advocating for nixing all consumption of things that are clearly wants, but what I think is the most important thing to advocate for is realizing where that feeling of needing/wanting to consume is coming from as well as evaluating if it is truly a deeply desired want that will ultimately in the end make your life better in the long-term.
We need to turn away from consumption for the sake of consumption or for the sake of dulling the pain of FOMO, not only to save our planet but also to reconnect with our inner souls and to each other. We live in a much more connected world, but we tend to feel much more isolated.
Our consumption is also selfish. We continue to consume to fill the void without paying attention to how our consumption is affecting other living beings, ALL living beings: other people, animals, and plant life.
Everything was created to display the beauty of life, and we need to embrace that and be grateful for that.
So, yes, it goes beyond just that we are destroying the planet. We need to reconnect and remember that finding happiness does not demand that we continue to consume.
Happiness does not come from things or consumption in and of itself.
Happiness has to come from within us and the goodness that we put out to others and the universe.
And of course, I’m no exception to this. So, this is me, starting my journey of being more adamant about making changes. Will you join me?