“We Can’t Tackle Climate Change Without You”

by | April 24, 2020

We Can't Tackle Climate Change Without You Protestors

Photo: InkDropCreative

This week I just want to recommend Mary Annaïse Heglar’s recent article, “We Can’t Tackle Climate Change Without You”.

It was written to encourage people – to help them find their unique path of climate action. But the insights could easily be applied to addressing any systemic issue…which feels extremely relevant right now because, with enough grassroots support, we have an opportunity to undo some of the US’s structural racism on the local and state levels.

Weaving in her own experiences and tearing down fallacies along the way, Heglar beautifully answers the critical question, “but what can we do as individuals?”

If I were you, I’d go read the whole thing, but here are a few of the highlights:

“What if your power in this fight lies not in what you can do as an individual but in your ability to be part of a collective? What if you broadened your perspective beyond what you can accomplish alone and let yourself see what you could do if you lent your efforts to something bigger? Yes, it’s true that you can’t solve the climate crisis alone, but it’s even more true that we can’t solve it without you. It’s a team sport.”

RH: (^^She’s speaking my language here! By the way, everyone who reads this newsletter will finally be able to connect with each other in the next few of weeks! If anyone wants to check out/share feedback on the Slack group before its launched, please do reach out – I’d love to hear from you.)

“Especially now, at this critical stage, we have to accept we’re all going to have to buckle down for the long haul. Responding to this crisis is going to have to become part of who we are. All the time. Once you understand that, you understand that this isn’t about climate action at all. It’s about climate commitment. Climate action is recycling or going vegan. Climate commitment is bigger. It’s a framework. It’s asking yourself: What can I do next? And always next.”

“But now that you’re aware of that truth, it’s crucial to remember one thing: It’s not enough to be right. The facts have been on our side for a very long time, but we’re still losing. Why? Because this isn’t a spelling bee or a standardized test. This is a fight for justice.”

“The scientists and experts have studied the problem and the solutions and presented their findings ad nauseum. But it wasn’t enough. Because this isn’t just about science or facts. This is about power. And it’s going to take an army. That’s where you come in, new Climate Person.

“But the question remains. “What can I do?” Well, now that you understand that the question is complicated, the answer actually emerges as quite simple: Do what you’re good at. And do your best.”

“Taken through that lens, you begin to see that you’re not powerless at all. Far from it. The world is not falling apart in front of our eyes so much as it is falling into our hands. What will happen if we’re brave enough to catch the falling pieces?”

“That’s why it’s so impossible for any Climate Person to tell any other Climate Person, new or old, what their own climate commitment should look like. We don’t know that special thing that you bring to the movement—only you know that. And we can’t wait to see the magic that will happen now that you’re part of our world.”

It really is up to you to decide what your climate commitment looks like. But if you want some more concrete examples, here are some resources and ideas I’ve shared in the past that you may find useful:

This post originally featured in the Crowdsourcing Sustainability newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter below!

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