Just the Facts, Ma’am.
Understanding climate science gives me a lot of strength, but I’ve had to be selective on my sources. Social media is not always a friend, and even more so when I read about bots, cyborgs and trolls. Last year, I completed the training with the Climate Reality Leadership Project, which was on-line due to Covid and his headed up by the former Vice President, Al Gore. The 14 hours of training over a two-week period was presented by excellent speakers, with global discussion rooms, videos, scientific reports, presentations for later use, and came with a mentor. We learned and discussed the causes, possible solutions, and gained a better understanding of subjects such as climate justice. Each new Climate Reality Leader is asked, over the coming year, to perform ten acts of climate leadership - I’m completing one right now with this article. Joining the Project has given me access to a wealth of reliable information and to like-minded folk intending to make a difference; all very positive.
Doomed, fatalistic, denialism, too late to do anything — are all actions used by the fossil fuel industry who want to stay in business, or by folk who are ignorant or choosing not see the truth. For some people, it’s all too much to accept; human nature when faced with crisis or pending catastrophe, as eloquently demonstrated in the recent film, ‘Don’t Look Up’. I stay away from such dialogue as I am unlikely to convince these people, and I’m well versed in the tactics of the fossil fuel industry thanks to Michael E. Mann’s informative book, The New Climate War. There isn’t any doubt or even a need for debate any more; the climate has warmed and continues to do so and we are responsible by our use of burning of fossil fuels. I speak about this here.
Phasing out the dinosaurs
After COP26 in Glasgow at the tail end of last year, there was disappointment that the agreements made were neither strong enough nor with a sense of urgency. This can be compounded when reading of a new coal mine or oil drilling having been approved, or the continued deforestation at terrifying rates. It’s common to feel isolated and that no one is doing anything. This, in fact, couldn’t be further from the truth. Governments may be slow but there is some action here, and you only have to watch the Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley's speech to feel the passion. Scientists have become more accustomed to working in the media, journalists are finding new material to write about, and the youth movement has rapidly grown, and not just under the determined actions of Greta Thunberg, there are many young people making their voices heard. The global conversation on climate has never been as strong as it is today, and it is encompassing other areas such as inequalities and injustices.
Human Being Human
We are affected by our emotions, especially the negative ones, but at the same time, our positiveness in thought and action will also affect our emotions. Gaining knowledge gives strength as does mixing with others on the same mission. Talking and engaging, demanding of those in power, and getting involved in whatever we can - and believe me, the actions I take are all new to me, but they are powerful tools in remaining strong. Believing in our resourcefulness and capacity to solve global problems also demonstrates our capacity to evolve, to learn by mistakes, and to create a better world, and that, is exactly the path we are on.
What works for me in my climate endeavours could also work in other fields. My three guidelines would be:
- Knowledge is everything; know the facts and this brings confidence.
- Surround yourself with good people who are moving in the same direction.
- Pace yourself, your health and well-being is important, but keep moving forward.
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Thanks, Kevin, for this lessons learned. I wonder if I could ask you to summarise in 2-3 bullet points, which strategies you have developed to stay positive and avoid becoming overwhelmed when working on the topic of climate change. I would be great if it could be general terms, so members who work on other topics could benefit as well. Thanks again!
I've added it to the text, Thirza.
Thanks for sharing Kevin. I especially love "knowledge is strength". I really struggle keeping up to date with the current climate news as it gives me such anxiety but by also researching what is being done fills me with more hope and I hope this community can continue to share positive steps and stories!