Almost 50 years ago soul music genius Marvin Gaye released his magnum opus: What’s Going On. The record takes a comprehensive look at the problems of the day including the war in Vietnam and the climate crisis. On the song Save The Children Gaye “Who really cares? Who’s willing to try? To save the world that is to die.” I thought of the song recently and I wondered if we really care that much?
Now, this isn’t to say that many of us don’t believe in climate change but rather if we care enough. Now if you asked most people they would say that the issue is real and very dire. But there’s a difference between saying that an issue matters and doing something about it. The inaction that we often see with the issue of climate change isn’t due to its importance but rather to distance and slowness. To get a better idea of what I mean think about it this way: your friend has been growing steadily for the last year so in a single year he grew 6 inches. If you see your friend every day throughout that year you wouldn’t notice the change as much until it’s juxtaposed against a picture from earlier. But if you only see your friend once a year the change will be jarring and surprising. So concerning climate change its hard for us to see how much it’s affected our world because of its incremental change.
Another reason I believe so many of us are stuck in inaction on this issue because it’s hard to know what to do about it. Many of us are not environment scientist and unlike when our computers stop working, we might have no idea how to make meaningful steps towards being carbon neutral. But I think the biggest thing we can do to move towards this goal is to live simpler. As a country, we are unwilling to sacrifice any part of our luxury and comfort for the greater good. But in fact, this is very unrealistic we can’t expect to do nothing and still get everything. Its also clear that government and politics move to slow for us to be reliant on them of change. Now I don’t have all of the answers but I think a good step forward is to recognize our own inaction and then think about what you can do to move past that point.