*disclaimer: I am not a scientist*
This article is going to be slightly different than usual. It is about a subject that is very close to my heart and that I had forgotten about for a long period of time. As you can tell form the title I am going to discuss climate change. Since when I was little I have been taught to respect and protect the planet, but in the last 5-6 years I have been so caught up in life that I feel like most of the time I have foregrounded other things and not really contributed to spread awareness nor payed attention to what was happening around the world.
I have just watched the documentary Before The Flood (Fisher Stevens, 2016), of which I am pretty sure you have heard of. In case you haven’t this documentary analyzes climate change and discusses the repercussions that global warming will have in the not so distant future and those symptoms that are already showing. Leonardo DiCaprio is the narrator and is also shown traveling to different regions of the world to see the devastation that global warming has already caused, that WE as humans have caused.
Now, I know that some are going to argue all sorts of things and I want to get this one out of the way: yes, DiCaprio is a heavy smoker and has been seen traveling on a private jet. I am not here to argue whether he was traumatized by Titanic (James Cameron, 1997) and therefore dreams about icebergs at night, but here is the thing: of course his actions affect all of us, since climate change is a result of everyone’s actions put together, and these are definitely two aspects DiCaprio could work on, at the same time though he has done a lot for the environment, both via small and big efforts. I believe he is genuinely trying to contribute and have a positive impact. I am not here to discuss whether this is hypocrisy or lack of coherency from him, and this is simply because I believe that if we want to change things we should all look at the positive example that he and others have set. We should notice and follow the steps he has already taken, rather than focusing on the things he should do better, I’m sure he knows them too. I really appreciate what he has done to bring attention towards this issue and many others. His presence in Before The Flood definitely helps to bring visibility to the subject matter. Moreover I admire his honesty, in the documentary he clearly admits that his footprint is probably bigger than most people’s. Also we should all think of our own flaws before judging others. Having said this, I really hope that he is going to improve his lifestyle even more, but now let’s move on to the core of this topic.
The documentary really brought my attention to the fact that, in order for major changes to happen, individual contribution is more than necessary, it is vital. I kind of already knew this but there are some things I hadn’t taken into consideration. I am a citizen of the so called Western World, therefore I basically am a slave of electricity in a fossil fuel reliant Country. However my lifestyle does not need to change drastically in order to reduce my footprint, which is very important considering that I’m pretty sure most people are scared by the idea of making radical decisions and therefore do not contribute at all. Every small change counts, some actions are more impactful than others, there is no doubt, but as a first approach tiny steps seem like a reasonable way to accomplish goals. One of the examples proposed in the documentary is a dietary shift to a more plant based diet. Don’t get too scared, just follow my train of thoughts. If you are a meat lover the planet can still benefit from your efforts, particularly if you are a fan of beef you might want to switch to chicken. See, you don’t have to abandon meat completely. There are food-related emissions of carbon dioxide, like the methane produced by cows as well as the contribution to tropical deforestation. I am not saying that you have to go vegetarian or vegan, more power to you if you decide to do so. I am still eating fish and occasionally dairy products myself, one thing that I’m considering at the moment is doing a vegan week a month, which if you like you can spread into 7 far-from-each-other days a month.
Another thing that is probably still in my cupboard or in some of my beauty products is palm oil. The consumption and use of palm oil is possible only through extensive deforestation. Furthermore when forests and peatlands are burned they release carbon emissions. Seeing the few orangutans that survived a massive deforestation and fire is heartbreaking. Decisions that we make in our daily life do have an impact. Stop buying products containing palm oil.
Want to give an even greater contribution? Think before you vote. It is true that average people are limited. We are not in the position of making choices for our Country. We simply do not have the power. But we can choose who represents us. There are still people in high positions (you know who I’m referring too, but there are so many more names implicated) that think that climate change is a joke, a hoax, therefore they won’t provide a solution, they won’t promote renewable sources of energy because they do not believe in it and, in most cases, are influenced by big businesses-a lobbying system. Mindful voting is probably the best way to have a positive impact or, in the worst case scenario, to have a negative one.
I don’t think that I know the truth or am the best example to follow by any means. There are so many contradictions in my lifestyle, most of them probably lay in the clothes and make-up I wear, in the way I commute (use public transport, walk and cycle if you can) and in the food I buy, but I am trying to be better at it. And that is where the change is, no matter how many mistakes you’ve made in the past there is still time to make up for them. Hurry up though because we are running out of time and we only have one planet. Unless you want to go colonize Mars and destroy the Universe one planet at a time. I don’t even know if that’s possible, as I said I’m not a scientist.
If you live in the USA go watch Before The Flood at channel.nationalgeographic.com/before-the-flood/videos/before-the-flood3/ obviously this is not the only way you can get informed on climate change, there are so many documentaries and academic essays out there!
I hope you enjoyed this different post and that you will reflect on this topic and take action.
🌍, I ❤️ you!!!
See ya later! X