Make the Change!!
Over the past month this blog has had a theme. I sarcastically recall a story from the week, link it to an idea I want to talk about and through wit and cynicism I take you on a journey from doubt to an enlightenment, where it is never as bad as it seemed. That was not an intentional artistic literary decision, probably more just a natural response to my world view and general personality. I often jump to the negative and the problematic aspects of an idea or situation and it is through that lens I start the process of figuring it all out in my head. I turn my bullshit radar up to the highest notch and start pointing it all over the place to understand what is really going on and what I really think about it. It’s quite exhausting but I also kind of love it. I try and inflate the problem so when I inevitably realise that it can’t be that bad I can just play back my previous thoughts and laugh at the self-righteous sensationalism that got me there in the first place.
However, when I reflect on my experience at the climate strike with 250,000 people in NYC I want to skip all those steps and get to the end where I get all warm and fuzzy. Ignore the heat, ignore the loud New Yorkers, ignore Jaden Smith’s painfully simple comments about healing the world and let’s jump straight to the enlightened positivity. So here we go…
This may just be the biggest and most important discussion of our time, one that rises above all other social issues because this is not social, it’s existential. All other contemporary causes of solidarity need to be seen through the lens of climate change because it is all well and good to create the society of our dreams if we don’t have a planet to enjoy it in. The urgency of the matter was felt at the march and the magnitude and reach of the protests were symbolic of the attention it deserves. My heart was full as I walked the streets of the city with new friends and a quarter million strangers, a sense of hope filled my lungs and the stench of the streets of New York were put to the side because I was truly smelling the roses that day.
It is easy to get caught up in the hysteria of such a large movement and be swept away with a feeling of satisfaction when you may not have achieved that much. But rather than nit-picking at the non-ethical branded clothes people were wearing, making assumptions about strangers’ carnivorous diets or discrediting people who recycle because they don’t also compost, I tried to treat the rally as a catalyst for something greater. I couldn’t stop thinking about what will tomorrow look like. What is the next chapter? What is required of us as humanity? It can’t just be about political lobbying, that alienates too many people from the cause and action. Perhaps is it more about widespread individual choices we can make in our daily lives.
For the majority, these marches need to be the catalyst for a shift in our human and consumerist behaviour. We need to believe and know that our choices have a knock-on effect to all sorts of environmental struggles. We won’t all be brokering new energy deals or putting the final touches on a party’s political agenda for an upcoming election but that doesn’t give us an invitation to just sit and wait. We are the custodians of a long standing struggle for environmental justice, whether it be conservationism, ethics in animal products or decrease in carbon emissions, this is not a new conversation and there are foundations there for us to build on and join, no need to reinvent the wheel.
Now I am not so arrogant to think that any of this is new information, or even an informative piece on the discourse of this issue, but I do think it worth writing nonetheless, even just for myself to remember that I am not a sitting duck waiting for the apocalypse.
We are in a beautiful period of the Jewish calendar where we hear the Shofar every morning, reminding us to WAKE UP! Wake up to all that is around us both physically and spiritually. We are in a month where we are encouraged to reflect and repent and go through the process of teshuvah. Let 5780 be the year of environmental teshuvah! Let’s be honest in our judgements and firm in our convictions as we start to mend a dying planet and eroding system.
I like to pretend, as I imagine most people do, that one person’s choices are inconsequential to the inevitable doom we all face. I think so many of us feel this way because it releases us from the burden of responsibility we would otherwise feel to fix it if it seemed at all possible. So instead we have created a lie that excuses us from the futility of trying to fix it. But that’s just it, a lie, something we tell ourselves about ourselves to avoid the challenge. This mentality is a disease moving through our generation and it has to stop. I think I am ready for the challenge, whatever that looks like.
Finishing the march, listening to Greta speak, shedding a tear as she inspired a crowd of people, I asked myself what next. Adamama is my next journey and I want to invite anyone who is inspired to think together about what the role of sustainable urban agriculture will be in your vision for a sustainable world.