***Scroll down for comic if this is tldr for you***
This is not my usual geeky post, but something more personal and heavy—something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.
Do you ever read the news and think, man, this sounds like the beginning of a movie about the end of the world…? I do, increasingly lately. The headlines keep coming with words and phrases like scientists warn… tipping point… dire warning… catastrophe… and yet the world keeps on turning and for the most part people in developed nations go about their days much the same as they always have.
I’m generally a pretty positive person who lives by whatever will be will be, and I will make the best of it while I’m here, but I’m unable to shake the anxiety that comes from worrying about the future of earth- not just for myself, but more especially for my nieces and nephew, and potential children and grandchildren.
I’m nearing 30 years old and I still don’t know if I want to have kids- part of this indecisiveness is prompted because it seems like earth is on a very swift and dangerous trajectory.
Bringing up these kinds of things often makes people defensive, but I don’t mean to imply that any particular individual should feel personally ashamed for the state of the earth or the way they live; our problems are huge and systematic. Eco-perfection is a dangerous notion that discourages people from even trying—nobody is perfect, and living a 0 impact lifestyle isn’t immediately practical, affordable, or possible for many people. Rather than being discouraged, we need to take what steps we can on personal, community, national and global levels- and fast.
I am a lucky person who lives a good life, and I’m grateful for it every day, but my visions of the not-so-distant future are becoming bleak. In the last few years I’ve implemented some more earth-friendly changes in the way I live, but I am also very aware that I have a privileged life, that I can be wasteful, that I enjoy my creature comforts. I love to travel (and have to travel if I want to visit my family across the country), I buy too many cute plastic knick-knacks, and sometimes shower longer than I should. I could go on. I live in an oil boom-town where big-industry employs many of my friends and loved ones- it’s a diverse community of people who are seizing opportunity where they can, and who can blame them?
The cost of living is climbing, taxes are relentless, and people will go where they need to and do what they have to do to make a living and provide for their families. We can and must do what we can personally to live sustainably, but we also need to make our corporations, industries, and governments listen and take BIG actions, make BIG changes- right now we’re acting too little too late. If we keep deterring action because of whataboutism, aversion to change, and all-or-nothing perfection aspirations, we’ll be really sorry in 10, 20, 30 years.
It always comes down to money, what about the economy, but what good will our money do when our systems collapse? The doomsday-preppers will be in their element for a while, and the uber-rich-and-powerful will head to their swanky underground resource shelters… and then what?
When it comes to climate change, positive feedback loops are scary. I was thinking about this and decided to make a comic about it, since I believe comics are a great way of sharing information.
It’s not fun information by any means- it’s sobering- but I’m worried that the world is sticking its head in the sand and we’re about to reach a point of no return. And so, I do the only thing I can think to do- research and draw.
P.S.- I’m no scientist; I’m explaining this through my own understanding of personal research, but check out some credible sources— there’s a lot out there, and I’ve included a few studies at the bottom of my comic.
3 thoughts on “Earth Anxiety”
Great blog! I love the term “eco-perfection” – yes, I think it deters some people from action. In Canada, we have to reduce emissions by 30% to meet Paris. I think if we first think of just reducing 30%, it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. (we’ll have to go further but one step at a time). And yes, the problem is systemic. The false narrative of “individual actions” has got to be long over by now. The single most important aspect of meeting this challenge is climate Leadership. I am not seeing enough in Canada yet, elected-wise, but still hope…
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Thank you Alisa! Yup, you’re right, we will need to go further but taking a step at a time and building momentum is better than taking no steps- and I hope our leaders heed the warning signs and act responsibly.
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This is how I feel with whether or not to have kids is the state of the planet.
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