To My Dear Planet Earth,
It’s taken me literal weeks to write this letter to you. I stopped and started, stopped and started. I didn’t know where to start, and quite frankly I still don’t. I’m sure you’ve noticed people are calling out your name and taking a stand for who you are to us. We’ve really screwed up, huh? But please let me try and explain what I’ve recently realized about our current state of climate change.
First, I feel the need to apologize. And not just a quick close-fisted, eyes-to-the-ground, mumbled ‘sorry.’ But instead, a fall-to-the-ground, heart-ripped-from-my-chest kind. You are our only home. And like the impassioned 16-year-old Swede with braids says, “our house is on fire.”
I want to tell you all the ways I’ve tried to help. I could make a list of all the ways I’ve made ‘ethical’ choices. I could talk about the containers I bring to the restaurants, or the jingling sound I make when I walk with metal cutlery in my bag. I could list for you all the people that told me “I thought of you” when they recycled something well. I could even go as far as to compare my so-called efforts to my friends and neighbours’ efforts, and I’d probably come out on top. Our summers are hotter, winters are colder; bushfires burn fiercer and typhoons rage angrier. We’re all starting to notice, and I think we’re left wondering if any of our efforts actually matter?
They do. There are 7.7 billion others that also require your resources to sustain their lives, and it sometimes feels like no one is doing anything to help, but I’ve realized I’ve got it all wrong.
There are millions of people sacrificing convenience and making choices that lead to your health and conservation. There are 16 countries that have banned single-use plastics, with far more to follow. Imagine that. Governments are taking actions so that millions of people are forced to remember their own mugs, straws and containers. And for the plastic that already exists in the ocean, small companies with big ideas, like The Ocean Cleanup, are developing passive cleanup methods in the ocean, and starting to intercept plastics at rivers.
Next, there are rapid advancements in technology and clean energy happening right before our eyes. The director of the Earth Institute’s research program on Sustainability Policy and Management said “some of the fastest growing businesses in America are actually energy efficiency and renewable energy.” That means there’s a big enough demand for sustainable alternatives that businesses and business models are changing to keep up with consumer demands.
In 2018, Forbes Magazine came out with an article called 6 Renewable Energy Trends to Watch in 2019, of which included the trend towards what they referred to as “Big Commitments.” They stated that as of December 2018, over 100 cities around the world report that at least 70 percent of their energy production is from renewable energy, and more than 40 cities are currently operating on 100 percent renewable electricity. It now being 2020, we can only assume that more cities are operating at 100 percent renewable, with far more to come.
The coolest thing of all is climate change education. School curriculums, like the one in the most Western province of Canada, include climate change as a subject that must be covered in school, starting in elementary school. In Grade 7 Science, British Columbia’s young people study “evidence of climate change over geological time and the recent impacts of humans.” This also includes understanding how “humans are capable of changing Earth’s landscape, climate, and systems.” Young people, like Greta Thunberg, are being taught the true hard facts about your decline, and telling the older people in their lives about it. The ripple effect of educated children stretches beyond the classroom walls, into their homes and their community, and that’s exactly where change happens.
We’re out here. We have cardboard signs and silicone straws and our homes are run more efficiently than ever. Our businesses are greener, ideas are put into motion and even our children are on board. My dear Earth, I am choosing to believe that we are changing faster than your climate is. I am choosing to believe that we are changing not only because we have to, but because we want to. Hang in there. There is so much hope.
A Faithful Inhabitant
Sarah is a lover of photosynthesizing beings and all things outdoors. She started her blog when she realized that people haven’t been making personal changes to improve the environment, because the information available is overwhelming and doesn’t feel relevant to most people in her life. It is a call to action to all of us to take responsibility for our actions, visit her blog to find out how you can make your life and future travels more eco-friendly. There’s something for everyone.