For the past two years, I’ve written and posted every Tuesday morning, focusing on some aspect of climate change or global warming, with the intent of making specific choices to save our planet. Hopefully, by sharing what I’m learning and doing, more people would adopt behaviors that further that objective. Most of the topics for these posts is illustrated in my ABCs To Save Our Planet.
When I began in January 2019, my objective was to write for a year, but at the beginning of 2020, I decided to keep writing. There were too many topics that warranted attention that I hadn’t addressed. As I think about 2021, I decided I do not want to re-hash the topics I previously researched and covered. And I do not want to simply be a “news” reporter, talking about things that are going on in the world that are in the newspapers. So, I decided I would take a break from the weekly schedule and instead, post something when it seems important or really new. My new approach will afford me more time to examine how I can best take steps to save our planet. It will also afford me more time to pursue some of my new years’ resolutions, like working out, spending time with people I love (socially distanced of course), watching good movies/TV shows, listening to music, reading more, and laughing.
In December, the New York Times invited its readers of their Climate Fwd: newsletter to share what they planned to do differently for 2021 – i.e., their “green” new year’s resolutions. They grouped selective responses they received into five areas – Community Involvement; Travel Differently (or just less); Electrify; Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is; and Little Things At Home. This quick read offers some specific choices that individuals planned to do next year to Save Our Planet and that was encouraging. I was also pleased to see that most of the items mentioned were topics I had written about during the past two years. Want some ideas? Check out this story.
In these two years, I learned the importance of being informed. Informed people make better choices for themselves, the people around them, and our world. Unfortunately, there is a lot of mis-information in the world. Some of it is spread for nefarious purposes but some of it just occurs, innocently, as we go about our day-to-day activities. What we read and what we hear, affects our beliefs about the world. Our news organizations have a habit of telling us more about bad things than good things that are happening. The result of hearing about all these bad events may cause us to have a more depressing view of our world. That is, we may conclude things are pretty bad, and as a society, we’re not making progress and things are getting worse. This negative view can cause us to believe there’s not much we, as individuals, can do, and we decide to just not think about it. We disassociate ourselves from trying to fix whatever the problem might be. Some people view climate change or plastic waste like this – problems too big for anyone to make a difference.
Writing this blog has taught me a lot. Our planet is resilient, but there is a limit to how much damage it can withstand and still provide us with a sustainable home. There is a tipping point beyond which Planet Earth cannot recover. I’m afraid we’re approaching that.
I’ve learned a lot about plastics and how our disregard for the trash we create is harming our environment and livelihood – think fish. Too often we consume without regard for how much we really need and have little regard for the downstream effects of our excess consumption.
I’ve learned that we have viable options regarding energy use, but aggressive conversion away from fossil fuels will be disruptive to some individuals and industry. There are choices to be made – some benefiting our planet and its capacity to support our livelihood, and other choices that benefit individuals, at least for the short term.
The manner and degree to which enough individuals accept and implement the necessary changes will dictate our future, and more importantly, the future for our children and their children. There are things I can change and I can work to change them; things I cannot change, and I can accept them; and I pray for the wisdom to understand which is which.
I recently received a link (thank you Judy) to a site for an organization called Gapminder. The Gapminder Foundation is a non-profit venture registered in Stockholm, Sweden, that promotes sustainable global development by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels. More specifically, Gapminder is an independent educational non-proﬁt, ﬁghting global misconceptions. If you go their website (which I highly recommend) you’ll have an opportunity to take an interactive quiz to test your understanding of the state of the world. If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised at how many things you get wrong. Try it; you’ll likely learn something about the world, and your misconceptions of the world. Learning your misconceptions will help you better understand our world, and, thereby, make better choices.
The year 2020 has been tough in many ways, and for too many, it has been disastrous. It saddens me as I think about all the suffering going on in the world. But it has also provided some wonderful moments at a personal level. It is important to not let the bad obscure the memories of the good. I am hopeful that with a new administration, promising Covid vaccines, and a little more patience, we can weather the pandemic, economic and political storms and enjoy more good times. We have the ability, if only we can find the collective will. We received a Christmas email from friends (thank you Paul & Mary) which included a photo of a tree ornament that sums up the year. Let’s hope ornaments for 2021 will reflect a different message.
I appreciate all the input and support I’ve enjoyed these past two years and look forward to my next chapter of this adventure we call life. I want to thank my children who have continued to inspire me, as well as offering technical expertise. And I want to especially thank my wife, who has been my editor in chief, as well as my sanity stabilizer. I’m so lucky.
Stay safe and do good things to save our planet. Happy New Year!