Wasting Time on Climate Activism, by moses seenarine (8/20/14)
I have to move again. After twenty moves, moving and being a nomad is beginning to feel normal. I was seeking storage assistance from friends, and one became irritated and asked, "Why are you going to NY? You don't have a job, money or an apartment, so why are you going there?"
I replied, "To protest for climate change at the UN. Many heads of state are attending a conference on global warming, and we need to put pressure on them."
In a grave voice, his reply was immediate and emphatic, "you are wasting your time. You are wasting your life."
His criticism stung and I considered for a moment how much better off I would be in trying to find work and housing. Solving survival issues should come first, but of what use is personal survival if the entire planet is at stake?
Wasting... that's an apt word for these the current era. One could even argue that the fear of not wasting time and money is causing global warming, and this fear will eventually lead to wasting countless human lives.
We have polluted and depleted the oceans - over 90% of the big fish gone - while ocean acidification and warming is killing coral, shells, star fish, and other species across the globe. Deforestation and habitat-destruction is causing rapid biodiversity loss and extinction, while increased droughts and wildfires threaten many other species. Incredible warming in the Arctic is leading to loss of sea ice, glacial melt, and 'methane volcanos' in Siberia, as sea-level rise innundate millions living on the coast with hurricanes and storm surges.
In spite of daily signs of a rapidly changing planet, humans continue to waste time and delay our transition away from fossil fuels. In fact, the extraction and burning of carbon fuel is expanding in the interest of not wasting time. We could slow down the release of greenhouse gasses while renewable energy resources are developed, but not capitalizing on an existing demand would be wasting money. So we waste the planet rather than waste our time.
We must take immediate action and each moment we delay takes us faster and closer to the brink. We have no time to waste. We must remain alert and try to wake other up. To do anything else, would be entirely a waste of time. The future is now and what we do now determines how we live tomorrow. The largest climate march in history is a chance to bend the course of history and I cannot waste this opportunity. The world cannot afford to waste this opportunity.
As Bukowski wrote, "To not to have entirely wasted one’s life seems to be a worthy accomplishment, if only for myself."