Being an environmentalist has sucked for many years.
In the US, there has been (and he’s still clinging on – illegally) a rampantly corrupt climate-change denier running the show, and the entanglement between oil companies and politics is grotesque.
In the UK, we’ve got a government that has been systemically gutting the environmental agency, trampling on every climate directive it can and generally taking zero responsibility for any of its actions, and/or gaslighting the nation for the consequences of its actions.
Basically: it sucks. And how much it sucks actually kinda makes it suck more, as the idea of tackling climate change has become intertwined with it being ‘overwhelming’ or ‘impossible’ or ‘too big to handle’ or just generally, let’s not kid ourselves, exhausting. Millions of people care about the climate. Millions of people have also been told to be scared about fixing it, or made to feel powerless. The narratives that are put before us are of apocalypses and suffering, pain and futility. Whereas, if we do it right, we can genuinely make a better world.
How we address the environment is intricately intertwined, not just with our survival, but with who we are as a society. Social inequality, social justice, how we work and how we value ourselves – whether by consumption or by the world we make together – are all at the heart of climate action. Again though, that reality makes this one hell of a big topic, and with this in mind let’s take this paragraph to say: guys – go listen to How To Save A Planet.
I love a podcast, and this is one of my new favourites. Every week it tackles another aspect of environmentalism, whether that’s political action by schoolkids, reforestation, conservative environmentalism, social justice – and does a clear, beautiful deep dive into where we’re at and how we can make things better. It is an open house of ideas, informative and informed, and for those of us who are just feeling incredibly sad and overwhelmed, it is also in many ways, a great big climate change hug. Filled with the voices of people working to make things better, and ideas about how, if you are saying to yourself “I wanna know more about this but I don’t wanna have to hold my teddy while doing it” (although, you totally can – I sometimes do) then How To Save A Planet is for you. Go listen.
While I’m here, I’m also gonna give a shout-out to Drilled, which I found through listening to How To Save A Planet. It tells the vital, scary story of how we got from a place of Richard Nixon in the 1970s begging people to send him environmentalist legislation to sign and ratify, to 2020, where climate-change deniers are given airtime as if there was any actual evidence to support a word they say, and denial continues to dog political decision-making. It is a podcast that I do sometimes find myself reaching for the teddy bear for, but if you want a clear, informed story of how we got to this place – and the cynical and brazen things that polluting corporations have done to get us to this place – then Drilled is incredible listening.
Meanwhile, as always, lemme remind everyone reading here that you are awesome, you are enough, and if you do sometimes feel overwhelmed by all this remember there are more of us every day standing up for the planet, and you are not alone.