Sunday, September 4, 2011

Why You Really Need to Give a S**t About Climate Change & Resource Issues Part II: It Wasn't Raining When Noah Built His Ark

It wasn't raining when Noah built his ark.  - Howard Ruff

Let's say you are given a choice.

Change your life now to reduce your impact on the earth - potentially radically and significantly, or some day in the future, your kids or grandkids may suffer for it.   That they would go hungry, do without.   Well, maybe not your kids or grandkids.  Maybe someone else's.  But maybe yours too.  Hard to tell.  As for when - well, later.  How much later?  Not sure.  Could be 10 years, could be 50.  But it's coming. 

So make the change, or something bad will happen to people later.   Sometime later.  Lots of people.  What change?  Well, buy less stuff.   What stuff?  Well, you know, the stuff you don't need.   

This is the problem with the message about the environmental issues and climate change.   There's not enough specifics for us to understand what to do now, today, and why.  
For most of us in the first world, we aren't seeing it. Okay, so 2 tornados went through a swath of Massachusetts for the first time in recent memory.   Hurricane season is getting worse. Drought and water issues across the globe, okay - but not here, right?  It has nothing to do with me, right?  

Well, yes.  Actually - it does.

It's really hard to see how the dress I bought online is impacting whether there's enough arable land or water.  Or how leaving all the lights on in my house all evening may mean that my grandkids are back to using candles.  We're not as a species good at seeing relationships between today's actions and what happens many years from now.   There's scientific data there, but seeing the correlations and causations is something that most humans, well, suck at.  Especially when we particularly don't want to hear it.

There are plenty of disbelievers out there.   Plenty of people to tell you that we are absolutely entitled to our way of life.  
That the millions of unemployed in the US are the slackers - that companies are just 'doing what they have to in order to survive' when they lay off masses of people - never mind those higher-than-ever quarterly earnings.   
That this is just a recession and we'll get over it, even though the lights went off in the economy 3 years ago and still seem to be on a dimmer switch.  
That we're entitled to giant gas guzzling vehicles because this is America, ferfrigssake, and no one has the right to tell me I can't drive what I want. 
That the poor are lazy, and could get jobs and eat better if they really wanted to - no one makes them eat fast food, right?  
That the people in the Horn of Africa are a lost cause anyway, and God, why the hell won't those people just use some freaking birth control?  

And so on.

The reality is that the resource depletion and climate changes we're experiencing are on a trajectory to get worse.   That's not a political issue, it's just the simple truth.

And we need to start preparing.

It probably goes without saying that savings helps.  Those with a little padding always fare better than those without.  

And gardening - well - I've blogged it before - it's an investment in our future and our kids.  So quit it with the Chemlawn crap, since you may need to grow food where you are currently dumping chemicals.   Let me put it this way - would you panic and call poison control if one of your kids ate the stuff you put on your lawn to control weeds?  If you would, then stop putting it in the water supplies mmkay?

Support local farms and farmers.  The more of them there are, the more likely it is that supply interruptions will be mitigated.   Mitigated, not avoided.  

Think about investing in renewables, but don't expect technology to save us.   Think about alternatives to heating oil if you live in the Northeast.  

Insulate your house.  

Quit shopping for entertainment.   Most of us don't need more stuff (as someone who likes to decorate for the seasons at home, this is one yours truly needs to listen to)

Pack your lunch, invest in a reusable coffee cup, etc etc.

Plant some fruit and nut trees.  They are pretty, and supply food.

So I've said all this stuff before.  Nothing new.  But if you wait for proof that bad things are coming, you end up like those people who run to home depot for flashlights just as the rain starts.  Buy a bunch of them to have around - and BTW, Maglite is still made in the good ol' USA, so you can stimulate the economy too.

Noah didn't wait to start building until he felt a raindrop.  His neighbors thought he was a nutjob.  They might think that of you too.  But whatever - Noah stayed dry.   They didn't.  

And hey, if by some magical outcome, I'm wrong, you'll have an insulated house, fruit to pick each summer, good lunches, have gotten to know the local growers and farmers in your area, and have some sassy flashlights to boot.

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