Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Thinking about the future

I'm in an online class, facilitated by a wonderful writer and thinker in Ireland, Sharon Blackie. She posed a question this week about how we address our lives in the context of a changing climate. Her course is all about being inspired to rise up, and pay attention to the natural world, and our particular place in it.

Sharon's weekly missive was prompted by a piece by a NASA climate scientist here in the US, who is tracking human impact on oceans (they're the last sink for the CO2 that we're producing), and her take was not positive.

But, she (the scientist) also wrote that she wasn't willing to have her child live a life without carbon (that is, without modern conveniences and visiting the grandparents through travel). So the question really, that Sharon was asking us to consider, is how much are we willing to do individually to reduce our impact on the earth?

It was a compelling piece, and thought-provoking.

I've tried to do the best that I can over the last 4 decades (I was a teenager at the time of the first Earth Day here in the US, and studied environmental science and biology in college, and became a plant ecologist in graduate school.) This has been on my mind for a long time.

My major carbon use now is travel. But it's perhaps offset because we don't have children? As well as offsets? We live in a small house that's energy-efficient, we recycle everything, I buy clothes at the thrift store (eg. recycled), yada, yada, etc. - but that's really not enough on a planet with an expanding population.

I have no answers. But I'm thinking it's also the "tragedy of the commons," too, as we all put our heads down in the sand.

It was interesting to search my past posts for "stewardship" and read what came up.


Maypops below: host plant for Gulf Frillary butterflies


  1. We can all do our part and that's a lot but, the governments of the countries we live in must do even more. You know what I mean!

  2. I almost can't bear to think about this. Certainly we should do what we can as individuals but people shouldn't fool themselves into thinking this problem can be addressed without a major governmental and international effort.

  3. It's a challenge, to be sure. I had a colleague some decades ago who was a paleontologist. Her justification for not worrying about it was to say everything eventually goes extinct (!). I turned to gardening with native plants (and encouraging people to do so through my work) as a positive alternative from lamenting loss of habitat. It was just too depressing to contemplate the losses in natural environments on a daily basis.

    And I find it telling that there hasn't been a single comment in the online class forum about this week's letter! Normally, there are LOTS of well-crafted missives.

    And as both of you wrote, it's not just our collective efforts that count, it's the governments (and regulations) that drive and shape our future.


I enjoy hearing from fellow nature lovers and gardeners. Let me know your thoughts.

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