Global Warming, Sunny Side Up

My dad loves to talk about global warming. Morning (often first thing), noon, evening (often last thing), in the kitchen, living room, strolls in the beach, the guy can’t stop talking about it. He can’t stop talking about the willful ignorance that allows us to avoid all the scientific evidence about its catastrophic consequences. He can’t stop talking about the social structures of wanton materialism and avaricious capitalism that preclude any meaningful conversation about heeding the ample warnings. He can’t stop talking about life, as we know it ceasing to exist.
Today, he and my step mom drove me to the Tampa Airport on my way back to New York City. As per usual, my father launched into a monologue on the implications of global warming.
I engaged him for a while. I’m no disbeliever. In fact, in many ways my life is shaped around the inevitability of global warming. I try not to actively engage in systems that terrorize our planet, quitting my last job and, to some extent, my last relationship because I couldn’t be party to their behaviors that were feeding into same systems my father bemoans. I can’t tell you the last time I bought anything outside of food and perhaps a little bit of stationary. I wear used clothes. I talk on a used phone. I live in a frigid apartment, opting to dress up than heat the whole place. I compost all of my food scraps. I’m a believer in global warming and I think, for the most part, my lifestyle reflects it.
That said, I’m quite clear about why global warming is so nasty: because the earth is so unbelievably beautiful and life is so unbelievably wonderful. If it weren’t for these convictions that I hold, I wouldn’t really care about the planet, who, in spite of all of our abuse, will restore itself in a million or two years—trifles in her lifespan.
As we approached the airport I said to my dad, “You might want to think about your messaging regarding global warming.” I explained that I didn’t get why he felt like the earth or its inhabitants are worth a shit. Quite the opposite: it seems like mankind should be left to deal with the consequences of its malfeasance.
I also told him that I’m pretty fucking fearful of global warming. I also told him that I’m pretty conflicted even about flying to Florida, driving all over the place, being, in my own limited way, complicit to a upper-middle class system of decadence and wastefulness; a complicity and dis-ease that I haven’t quite reconciled in my consciousness.
But I’m still governed by light. I told him I’m governed by my love for him and my step mom and my whole family and by people I don’t know and all there madness and crazy schemes to find their own chunk of happiness—that that love was the only thing that allows me to do things that detriment our precious environment.
Do I believe all this shit?
I do.
I also think we as a species are in a tough spot right now. Not only are we destroying the planet, but also I feel there’s a great plague of despair washing over many of the world’s citizens. I believe this despair is why people keep consuming and wasting in spite of the obvious harm it’s imposing on the planet (this I think is the fundamental problem). We keep on looking for happiness outside ourselves, and with such a mindset, there is not limit on how much happiness we’ll consume, extract, eat, etc.
But I believe that despairing about these problems, accusing others of their manifold harms, and criticizing really serves little or maybe no purpose. It’s another externalization of happiness; it’s predicated on the belief that if only people did what I wanted them to do, I would be happy.
I believe we can only focus on ourselves. We can only ask if we are living up to our convictions. No one else but me can stop global warming. No one else but me can show that life is a miracle.
So for this coming year, I want to redouble my efforts on world saving.

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