Dear Partners in Green,

When it comes to changing our habits as a means of addressing the Climate Crisis, we often hear the argument that it is not the responsibility of individuals, but rather the responsibility of the fossil fuel industry, along with the banks and political leaders. The sentiment seems to be that any action on our part is futile, that we cannot make a difference, it is out of our control.

I found an article from the Sierra Club by Jason Mark that may be useful in responding to these nay-sayers, and encourage us to keep on track when it comes to “living green.”

Some key points:

  • By failing to address the connection between our actions in regard to climate change, we may be less willing to take on the work of transitioning because we will not have been prepared for the profound effects living in a “green” economy will have on our daily lives.
  • Having little connection between environmental activism and the daily experience of living “green” may result in fewer people becoming politically active.
  • A “green” economy may lead to overall improvements, but many may see it as sacrifice and thus be resistant and distrustful.  (Considering today’s political climate, this seems likely.)

Mark believes it is important for the “environmental movement to keep insisting that individual behavior changes are not only righteous but required.”  In addition, he writes, “Such real talk opens the way to having a public conversation about how to fairly navigate the changes to come. Honesty and transparency are political assets.”

He continues, “When you choose to eat less meat or take the bus instead of driving or have fewer children, you are making a statement that your actions matter, that it’s not too late to avert climate catastrophe, that you have power. To take a measure of personal responsibility for climate change doesn’t have to distract from your political activism – if anything it amplifies it.”

I encourage you to read the full article referenced below and to tackle the “to do” list, a combination of social activism and “living green.”

  • Join an environmental organization such as the Sierra Club, the Nature Conservancy, World Wildlife Federation, the Audubon Society.
  • Write an op-ed piece for your local paper.
  • Call or write your Senators and Congresspersons.
  • Do not live “green” behind closed doors. Let people know the life choices you are making, and why.
  • If you belong to a religious organization, encourage the members to “go green” and for the organization to adopt a climate care covenant.
  • If you are not a vegetarian, go meatless two days a week, maybe three.
  • Begin a conversation with a young person about caring for the Earth, and listen to what the child has to say.
  • Write a poem.  Share it.

Now, a song from the ’90s, a bit long, but a lesson still.
*Lyrics may be found below footnotes.

Wishing peace and health to you and your loved ones.

Thank you for being on this journey.

Till next time,

*Lyrics to The Last Resort

She came from Providence
One in Rhode Island
Where the old world shadows hang
Heavy in the air
She packed her hopes and dreams
Like a refugee
Just as her father came across the sea

She heard about a place
People were smilin’
They spoke about the red man’s way
And how they loved the land

And they came from everywhere
To the Great Divide
Seeking a place to stand
Or a place to hide

Down in the crowded bars
Out for a good time
Can’t wait to tell you all
What it’s like up there

And they called it paradise
I don’t know why
Somebody laid the mountains low
While the town got high

Then the chilly winds blew down
Across the desert
Through the canyons of the coast
To the Malibu

Where the pretty people play
Hungry for power
To light their neon way
Give them things to do

Some rich men came and raped the land
Nobody caught ’em
Put up a bunch of ugly boxes
And Jesus people bought ’em

And they called it paradise
The place to be
They watched the hazy sun
Sinking in the sea

You can leave it all behind
Sail to Lahaina
Just like the missionaries did
So many years ago

They even brought a neon sign
“Jesus is coming”
Brought the white man’s burden down
Brought the white man’s reign

Who will provide the grand design?
What is yours and what is mine?
‘Cause there is no more new frontier
We have got to make it here

We satisfy our endless needs
And justify our bloody deeds
In the name of destiny
And in the name of God

And you can see them there
On Sunday morning
Stand up and sing about
What it’s like up there

They call it paradise
I don’t know why
You call someplace paradise
Kiss it goodbye