Connecting, taking small steps helps in facing climate crisis

Connecting, taking small steps helps in facing climate crisis

Even in the least fearful scenarios, things will be very different.

Connecting, taking small steps helps in facing climate crisis

I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful community, rich in natural surroundings; rivers, ocean, mountains, forests, and many great people to share it with.

Recently, as the evidence of the climate crisis we are in is more and more front page news, things have changed for me.

I have been going through depression and fear about what is happening in our world. I have lived a long enough life, and it has been filled with love and many wonderful experiences. But, I have over a dozen grandchildren and my heart is broken for what the world may look like for them. The direst predictions include that they may not themselves live into adulthood, or certainly not in the way that most of us older folks have done.

Even in the least fearful scenarios, things will be very different.

These thoughts kept me awake at night, and feelings of helplessness were abundant.

I have managed to change my perspective to one that includes hope. Not hope that life will continue as it is now, as it does not seem this is possible. But a knowledge that if enough people care and are willing to work towards changing our human behaviour, there can be a future of sorts.

What has helped me to emerge from my sadness is connecting with others who are concerned about the situation, and who are willing to take action in a variety of ways to educate others, host community events and reach out in the ways we can to impact change. The group I have joined is called One Cowichan. While there is a saying that “misery loves company,” this is not what I gain from connecting with like-minded others. I feel empowered to speak out, to share my concerns. There are many out in our community (and world) who are climate change deniers, or who are simply in various stages of not wanting to talk about it, or who know that by acknowledging that some of what I (and the news) says is true then they may have to do things differently, and that is hard.

More and more frequently however, people are understanding that we are in a new reality. Perhaps it is that we are already having issues with water, with forest fires, that our climate is changing. Maybe those climate scientists who are fortunate enough to have their (scary) statistics published in a mainstream media source are making headway.

If you care about our world, then take the steps you can. This does include the small things: stop buying single-use water bottles, carpool when you can, try not to waste food and so on. No, these things will not solve our carbon footprint problems in a hurry but every step we take in the right direction may help us last just a little longer on this planet. And every step you take may encourage someone else to do the same.

And communicate with our governments. We think local governments have no way of changing things in regards to the climate. Think again. Our local governments make decisions about land use, housing, buses, local forest practices. Not always in isolation, but they have varying amounts of power over these issues. Our provincial government is the next place for concern: LNG, Site C, our forest practices are examples of the ways in which we impact on our environment and at the end of the day, the climate crisis. Tell your governments to declare a “Climate Emergency” and take actions that back up that statement. Some people believe they don’t listen. But at the end of the day they do.

Make a difference. If not for you, for your grandchildren or for mine.

Cathy Gilbert