There are so many terrible things happening in the world right now, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that it’s hard to hold onto hope for the future of humanity. Take for example the latest UN climate report (summarized and commented on in this AP news story). In short, we have to take actions immediately to make extreme reductions in greenhouse gas emissions or children alive today will face catastrophic (unlivable in many places) conditions at the turn of the next century. Side note: I don’t like it when all the predictions are for the end of the century, as if nothing bad will happen until then. I think that type of reporting is why we are in the place we are in. People don’t think that climate change is a problem now, rather, it will be a problem many decades from now so they don’t take action or support action on the issue.
At any rate, the report made it clear that we must act now (actually we should have acted decades ago, but that is a rant for another time). It is also becoming apparent that Biden’s climate agenda will likely not get passed by congress before the midterm elections; and I don’t have a lot of hope that democrats will hold the majority after those midterms. So…push for action on the state level. There are many states that are leading on climate change legislation and action. I recommend looking up your state’s 350.org chapter. They will list climate-related bills that have been proposed in your state’s legislature (for example, see the Massachusetts chapter’s legislative agenda). You can then find your state legislators and urge them to support the passage of those bills. If your state doesn’t have any such bills, you can work with your legislators to write one!
On a related note, there is a wave of legislation in our country right now that is aimed at censoring or prohibiting the teaching of the history of racism and institutional racism in our country. The majority communities that will be first and worst in our country by climate change are communities of color. This is due to our history and legacy of racism. You can start to read about that in this interview with Elizabeth Yiampierre. If we don’t educate our population about racial inequities stemming from our racist history, we will not be able to ensure climate justice for our most vulnerable communities. On a hopeful note, there are some states that have legislation pending that will expand the teaching of racism and understanding bias. My state of Massachusetts is not one of those...yet. Regardless of where you live, you could contact your state legislators (find them here), and ask them to propose legislation similar to what New Jersey passed in March of 2021 under which "New Jersey educators are required to “incorporate instruction on diversity and inclusion in an appropriate place in the curriculum” and “examine the impact that unconscious bias and economic disparities have at both an individual level and on society as a whole.”
So, is it possible to have hope? I don’t know. But I do know that I feel better when I do something to speak up for what I believe is right.
Commentary on environmental news/issues plus thoughts and stories about my journey to lower my environmental footprint and raise my voice.
-Another vegan environmentalist