Citizens' Climate Lobby: Combatting climate dread – HollandSentinel.com

Citizens' Climate Lobby: Combatting climate dread – HollandSentinel.com yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7

My first memory of a catastrophic climate event was in 2010. I was in the fifth grade. My teacher told our class that a massive amount of oil spilled into the Gulf of Mexico.
In the weeks following the oil spill, I remember being shocked by videos of ducklings and turtles covered in dark, sticky grease while people in white coats bathed them in dish soap. I was disturbed by pictures of dark plumes of smoke over the ocean. I heard adults around me saying they weren’t going to buy their gasoline from BP anymore. It was the first time I became aware of the man-made threats to our climate. As a kid, I wondered why it took so long for the adults to solve the problem.
Since then, I have always wondered what small steps I could take so that situations like this could be avoided. I try my best to make “green” choices. When it was time to buy my first car last year, I chose to buy my brother’s used car that gets up to 50 mpg on the highway. I pack my lunch in reusable containers every day, and I recycle plastic grocery bags. Every morning when I put my contacts in, I recycle the small plastic package they’re sealed into. I drink from a reusable metal water bottle. I compost my excess food waste. But I often question, is what I’m doing enough to make any real difference?
At a time in life when many of my peers are getting married and starting their careers, the fear of bringing new life into the world amidst this ongoing climate crisis is real. We have reservations about starting a family at a time when we’ve been told there may not be clean air to breathe or water to drink. The threat of declining quality of life, the threat to our food supply, and the threat to our security looms over our future.
Despite the dire predictions, I remain hopeful that we are increasingly adopting the tools to help us ultimately overcome these existential threats to humanity.
One recent hopeful experience I had was while helping out at a home energy expo. Kids were walking around with miniature wind turbines they had made from paper towel rolls and popsicle sticks. Many of them shared their ideas about why helping the environment was important to them. One kid told me it is because he loves animals. Another mentioned the importance of protecting the Great Lakes. Now, as I work with school-age children daily, I am amazed by those as young as first grade being able to articulate their concerns for our collective future. They’re growing up in a world where there is an increasing awareness of the move toward low-to-zero-emission options like electric vehicles, heat pumps, and solar panels. For those kids that I’ve mentioned, there is no question that the threat of the future is real, and the time to act is now. We must do our part in ensuring their right to grow up in a sustainable world.
Within this overwhelming dilemma, it may seem like our individual efforts won’t change anything. I often get discouraged learning about mega-polluter companies or the partisan gridlock in our government. It is easier to give up and lose hope. However, our individual contributions DO add up. We have an opportunity to use our collective creativity and sense of urgency to find climate solutions. An expression I’ve heard that I often remind myself of is, “no one can do everything, but everyone can do something.” We are all capable of being conscious with our choices and making changes to our daily routines because climate change doesn’t just affect the climate, it affects U.S. It is changing how we live and the quality of our lives. Our global community and future generations are depending on us to care. We can’t afford to lose hope.
The vision of Citizens’ Climate Lobby is resulting in a message that is reaching people of all generations. If you are interested in gathering with those who seek to take climate action, one option is to consider joining CCL.
— Martha Beattie is a member of the Holland Area Chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby.


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