Why does hearing about climate change always make us uncomfortable?
1 – Hierarchy of needs
Why should I care about climate change? I have problems of my own! And you are right. Take care of yourself first. Until an individual does not reach self-actualisation, it will be extremely difficult to care about the earth’s needs when they are trying to fulfil their own. Unless a person is completely satisfied and content with the life they live, only then will they look around to serve their “higher purpose”. That is the reason why famous actors like Joaquin Phoenix, Leonardo Di Caprio, Dia Mirza, Akshay Kumar etc. are such avid environmentalists (P.s. Leo might care about icebergs because he owes his career to them). They have reached self-actualisation and now want to give more to things that matter.
Moral: Until you don’t help yourself, you won’t help the world. So eat healthily, sleep more, exercise often and trust me, you will start caring more about the world around you.
2 – We think it’s effects are distant in time and space
What’s getting affected? Ice in Antarctica. Who is dying? Polar Bears.
Eh, how does that affect me? We still have the misconception that climate change happens in the Arctics and we still have around 50-60 years before it affects us. Climate change is slow in showing its true colours, its effects are not immediate so we think we have time. But no!
Let me provide you with some recent examples :
- Remember Australia? Before the fires ignited Australia was enduring it’s driest and hottest year on record. Coincidence? After the wildfires they faced flooding. Ironic.
- Locust Swarms In East Africa & Parts Of India & Asia. They can eat crops meant for 35,000 people in just one day. Unusually heavy rains and increased temperatures from 2019 may most likely be the cause of this attack.
- Floods in Assam, India. The early glacier melt in Himalaya coincided with the monsoon leading to overflow in the Brahmaputra river.
This is just the tip of the iceberg.
Moral: It is happening now and it is happening around you.
3 – My impact is so small, how can I make a difference?
You are right and wrong. First of all your impact is much more significant than you think, moreover there are millions of others like you. Together everyone can make a significant impact for the betterment of the environment. For eg. the true cost of fast fashion gives you a hint on how much waste is produced by the clothing industry.
We have a freeze, flight, or fight responses when in danger. Humans are stuck on freeze when discussing climate change. This makes us incapable of action. We should not be scared of it but be more proactive in tackling it. Being anxious about climate will cause a freeze response which makes us feel helpless and render our efforts futile.
Moral: Your efforts do matter significantly.
4 – All hope is lost, what now?
All hope is not lost! There is good news too, we identified the hole in the ozone layer as a problem and worked towards fixing it. According to NASA, the ozone layer will be completely repaired by 2040.
It feels beyond our control but we have to talk about climate change. We have stop the political agenda influence the findings of science, we have to make an effort to change. It is going to be an uphill battle but one worth fighting for.
Moral: Giving up is not an option, people are becoming more self-aware, the ‘josh’ is high.
5 – The real culprits
Just 100 companies account for 71% of global emissions. There you have it!
A quick google search on how to tackle climate change offers an abundance of advice on how an individual can “help save the planet”. Statistically speaking, we are blameless. The government has to take action on the emission produced by the fossil fuel corporations as they are the main culprits. Instead of passing on the moral blame to us individuals, the real offenders should be held accountable for their actions.
One should be aware of greenwashing and know where our products come from and what the cost the planet pays for it.
Moral: The biggest offenders need to take responsibility for their actions. Renewable energy is the future.
Please don’t let this be one of those articles where you read it and move on. Change one habit, make a small effort and start your journey of becoming environmentally conscious. Converse on this issue, seperate fact from fiction and be the change.
Here are some tips to help make a difference.
Cover art – Sébastien Thibault