It’s very easy to become disillusioned when you care a lot about the environment. The earth, and our fragile place on it, can feel very precarious at times. 2017 seems set to be a year that will test our resilience to its very maximum; most notably an incoming US president who doesn’t accept the clear, established science of climate change. He is depressingly accompanied by our own UK government who appear to see environmental protections as ‘red tape’ to be swept aside along with investment in renewable technologies, as it goes on a mission to alienate itself from its neighbours on the continent. Also in attendance is a shocking resurgence across large swathes of the Western world of a far-right ideology that sees compassion for the planet, and indeed other humans, as a weakness to be mocked and exploited.
A difficult thing to deal with is that so many environmental disasters, caused by humans themselves, rarely raise more than a faint mention in the media or a glimmer of public disapproval. Stories of rainforest destruction, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, animals dying from consuming discarded plastic, drinking water ruined by runoff chemicals from factories, human deaths from air pollution, animal deaths from oil spills, and on, and on, and on…
And it’s so easy to be so overwhelmed by this, that you find yourself in a state of depressed inertia. What’s the point in trying so hard, when so many people don’t?
Well, in the words of a great man, who the world came together to celebrate this very week:
“Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.”– Martin Luther King Jr
We must continue to fight, because that’s who we are. No, you can’t save everything, but you can save something. It might be something as seemingly simple as a single turtle who doesn’t eat the plastic bag you refused because it didn’t blow into the sea, it might be somebody else’s faith in humanity and their belief in the power of change because you kept fighting. The latter is one of the most important aspects that can so easily be forgotten – we need to keep speaking up and taking action for the planet because other people need their inspiration and their allies too. We need this even more so when it feels like no one else is listening. Because there are millions who do, and just because their voice is being drowned out right now, doesn’t mean it always will be. Please always know that you make a difference.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”– Margaret Mead