Guest essay by Eric Worrall
“Focus on systems, not yourself” – According to author Emma Marris, people who are stressed out about their personal carbon footprints need to understand it is not their fault.
How to Stop Freaking Out and Tackle Climate Change
Here’s a five-step plan to deal with the stress and become part of the solution.
By Emma Marris
Jan. 10, 2020
Ms. Marris is the author of “Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World.”
As an environmental writer, I’m often asked for guidance on coping with climate change. I have thoughts. Even better, I have a five-point plan to manage the psychological toll of living with climate change and to become part of the solution.
Step 1: Ditch the shame.
The first step is the key to all the rest. Yes, our daily lives are undoubtedly contributing to climate change. But that’s because the rich and powerful have constructed systems that make it nearly impossible to live lightly on the earth. Our economic systems require most adults to work, and many of us must commute to work in or to cities intentionally designed to favor the automobile. Unsustainable food, clothes and other goods remain cheaper than sustainable alternatives.
Imagine dense but livable cities veined with public transit and leafy parks, infrastructure humming away to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, fake meat that tastes better than the real thing, species recovering and rewilding the world, the rivers silver with fish, the skies musical with flocking birds.
…Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/10/opinion/sunday/how-to-help-climate-change.html
If you think this advice sounds familiar you are absolutely correct. Emma’s suggestion is very similar to the excuse Extinction Rebellion provided when challenged about the lifestyles of their celebrity anti-flying campaigners.
But Emma takes this reframing a step further – she describes a glorious future of high density cities teaming with wildlife, yet crisscrossed with public transport, which will somehow be possible if we learn to “live lightly on the Earth”.
In the real world, mixing high density public transport with teaming wildlife usually produces lots of roadkill.
Perhaps I am being too harsh. Emma isn’t actually offering an explanation for how her vision might be achieved. Emma has provided the vision; I guess it is now up to engineers and rich people to sort out the implementation details.