What Are We Supposed To Do

This post is the second in a series of how people react to Climate Change once they “know”, that “wow” moment when they discover the truth about Climate Change. For some, that realization is overwhelming causing fear, emotional paralysis and denial. For others, the call to action is simply irresistible.

The following is the story of Bluebolt, a “young, very young” person whose response to a recent post, What Did You Do Once You Knew captivated me, prompting this follow-up. Bluebolt has chosen to remain anonymous and deliberately sparse with any personal information. Bluebolt’s story is riveting. 
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What Are We Supposed To Do

The following is Bluebolt’s story.

What Are We Supposed To Do, boomer warrior

I sit in front of my computer, having read several of your recent articles. This is a website whose focus, whose stated focus, is future generations. You fear for your grandchildren. Anyone who knows about this, fears for their children and their grandchildren.

I am young, very young. And I’m afraid.

As I am a member of the first, although not the last, generation whose future will be decided in the coming months and years, one is inclined to depression, rage and frustration and, above all, powerlessness. We are being fought for and that’s comforting, but our enemies are so powerful, and so much damage has already been done. And that’s not only terrifying. It’s enervating.

Our personhood is being denied. Our right to a liveable world is being denied. There are people fighting, people marching and proposing laws and, yes, blogging about this. People do care. But not most of the people making the decisions.

Most people my age are not as stupid as most people seem to think we are. We know the only times we are ever thought about by those in power is how can our existence be turned to their profit. Don’t they realize that in the long run even their children and their children and their children aren’t safe? That even if they can hoard resources for longer than the rest of us, eventually they’ll die or suffer too? I hope they realize that one day even the people they love will curse them.

What is a person to do? What is a person to feel? How can one react? When we hear that even with the immediate change of course that’s so necessary and so ignored, we have forty years baked in already, and mass disintegration of ice sheets. How can one feel anything but powerless when some of the smartest people in the world are calling you victims of other people’s choices?

What are we supposed to feel?

How are we supposed to react?

What are we supposed to do?

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Rolly Montpellier, boomer warriorRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s also a Climate Reality leader (Climate Reality Leadership Corps), a blogger, an activist and a Climate Change presenter. You can also follow him on Facebookand Twitter.He has been a contributor to the Climate Change Guide, The Canadian, ClimateMama, The Hill Times, World Daily, Georgian Bay News, The Elephant, CounterCurrents, 350Ottawa and MyEarth360.

16 Responses to What Are We Supposed To Do

  1. Thank you for posting! I keep thinking of the original Zorro movie…..Zorro must ride again

  2. I’m getting to where i don’t know what to say to these kids.”We’ll keep at it and do all we can”, would that do it? It wouldn’t have for me when I was a kid. But sadly, it’s all I got.

    • I think that we need to work with younger people on climate change action.They must be part of the solution. We adults may have created the problems but we must be seen by youth – children and grandchildren – as actively engaged to make their world a better place. My oldest grandkid knows what I attend meetings and that I work endlessly on climate activism. He knows that I’m trying to make his world better not out of fear but out of love for him.

  3. Your emotions are touching. If I may respond, we must see the future and ask ourselves a simple question. Don’t ask what you can do for the environment, but instead, ask yourself what do we need?
    What will it take?
    How can we start protecting our environment and address climate change?

    And the answer is money. Lots of money. Our world runs on money. And the way to raise the money we can use to change behaviors and influence our destiny is something I called Enviromania.ca.

    Thanks for caring. :)

    Guy

    • Guy – thank you for your response.

      Increasingly we are seeing the economic reality of climate change mitigation and adaptation – it will cost billions if not trillions to adapt. And many people will not survive due to migration, less food and less fresh water, not to mention an ever-increasing population. People and governments are starting to get it. It will cost to live with climate change.

      We are also hearing more about the “economics of climate change”. Experts are agreeing that it is less expensive to reduce carbon emissions now (to slow global warming to no more than a 2 degree Celsius increase) than it will be to wait until later when the planet is out of control. It’s a question of ‘pay me now or pay me later’.

  4. This was very poignant Rolly. I can feel the childrens pain and confusion. Although I work with younger kids, it’s amazing how much many of them already understand. And when they talk about their futures and what they want to be when they “grow up”, it breaks my heart to know how very very hard their future is going to be for them. Of course I smile and always encourage them, because what else can I say? And I agree with you, we need to involve them, and by involving them we hopefully involve their parents enough to want to become educated about climate change.

    • Dorsi – it is heartbreaking to think about my grandkids’ future. I wonder if my parents also questioned or feared for my future. Are we just being too pessimistic? Will Generation Z – that’s what that generation is called – will survive. Will they clean up our mess?

      Ah so many questions.

  5. Here’s my ten cents: for children and young adults under the age of about 16, I suggest that we should be teaching them the basics of the greenhouse effect and physics, but I would steer away from making projections and predictions climate doom because it is just too serious a topic for most kids (this is just my opinion).

    I agree with Guy about money (which is really fiat). My suggestion is that the financial crisis in 2008-2009 and the one we are about to have should be the wake-up call for how to address climate change. The situation is screaming at us but we do not see the solution. The answer is in creating a new currency that is pegged to climate mitigation, and thus has an intrinsic value based on reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This would require a global agreement, and this is where things become difficult, because the current priority of government leaders is to keep their financial masters and security advisers happy with economic expansion and growing powers of authority to manage the problems that the politicians are unable to solve (and are unable to be honest about with the public).

    I feel that we have crossed the Rubicon; and for each of the 7.3 billion individuals on this planet there will be as many different responses to the situation. At least the people reading boomerwarrior are aware and mentally prepared.

    Cheers

    • Delton – thanks for the comments.

      You would like to teach children about greenhouse gases and the physics of climate change. I agree. We should be changing the curriculum taught in our schools to provide an education better suited to the problems the next generations will encounter on the planet.Youth must be better prepared for their future. But I think we need to go much further than you suggest. We need to talk about the emotional and psychological aspects of climate change as well.

      You refer to a “new currency pegged to climate mitigation.” Just wondering if you can elaborate on that concept – it sounds interesting. Are you by any chance referring to some form of tax on carbon?

      Lastly, you address the issue of perpetual economic growth and capitalism. The phrase “death by capitalism” aptly describes the effects of the current economic mindset adopted by world and corporate leaders.

  6. Very good article.

    Our world definitely sits in spheres of power. Children are born into our world innocent and until we teach them differently, they wonder at everything our biosphere offers. Just watch a small child spot its first “butterfly” or experience “rain,” and you will know that they are in-tune with the biological rhythms that govern all life.

    But, our world is also full of our own creations too… our own ideas… and our own power mongers. So much of what we create is out of balance with the natural and absolute physics of our planet. Centuries ago, we taught our young that the world is “flat.” We teach the young with false ideologies born out of human ego and false thinking.

    Bluebolt’s story is probably typical of the kind of education we have fed our children … “they must believe the world is flat until we tell them differently.”

    What are we to do for the young? We must stop lying or pretending we know the answers… when we obviously don’t!

    I really believe that our young people need to go back to their early experiences of wonder at our world. Go and find nature where-ever they can. Go and sit amongst the trees, or walk in a woodland, feel the biorhythms of life around them – feel the pain of nature as it fights against the pollutions we throw at it. It is like meditating to be in-tune with the planet (as nature intended) and is as far away from our governing elite adulthood as possible… we adults have got it wrong.

    Our young must develop ideas, love for the planet and each other – banish the corrupt. They must do what we never did, care about their immediate environment, each other and the animals they live alongside. Each school has a responsibility to guide this and allow the ideas of children to guide a new path – to see the problem with young and innocent eyes. Our old eyes are just too tired and we limp through the problems like defeated soldiers who have given up on the caring of humanity.

  7. Bluebolt’s reaction is both understandable and compelling. Kids are being handed a real bloody mess. Surely our post-war generation ought to have done much better. We were handed things on a silver platter which we have irreparably tarnished. I live with this guilt daily.

    I’m encouraged nevertheless with how kids are getting involved in the climate dialogue. I see new website and Facebook group and page star-ups every week. In my next post – Why? Why Not? – you will see how Climate Reality is attempting to galvanize youth into taking meaningful action in preparation for the Peoples March in New York on September 21. http://bit.ly/1l3bFvy

  8. To be fair Rolly, through the ages past, most people have tried only to increase the living standards for their own children. 100 years ago, (before the two world wars), poverty was very real in the Western world and children still died of disease at a very young age. That has changed for the better, so not everything we’ve done is bad. We have eliminated many common diseases like smallpox, polio and scarlet fever. We have improved living and sanitary conditions for the poor and provided suitable housing for many.

    What we have failed to do, is to see that in doing all of this, many animals have died, the earth is suffering from a different kind of pollution – more chemical in nature (and often invisible to our eyes), and we have shifted the climate more than nature alone would have done. We have not seen the future consequences of our actions because we haven’t considered ourselves as part of a symbiotic biosphere.

    We cannot be fully guilt ridden when we didn’t have the scientific research that we now have. What we must not do, is ignore the facts as we see them now. We may not yet have the answers, but at least, as you say, we should all participate in the dialogue.

  9. For the most part I’ve moved past the guilt I felt when I first became a climate activist. I kept asking myself why we didn’t see this coming? We should have know better. You see, it’s so easy to go down this path that leads to nowhere.

    The key is to teach others – our kids and grandkids – not to make the same mistake, not to wait for someone to do something about it, regardless of what the problem or the injustice is. You are the one who must do “something”.

    With the exponential growth of knowledge and scientific data now available on climate change and the environment in general, there is now no excuse, I repeat, no excuse for inaction.

  10. Bluebolt,

    For me you summarized the issue….along with many other issues that create conflict in the world……..”People do care. But not most of the people making the decisions.”…….however, I realize that I can only do what I can do which is continue to work to do what I feel is right w/r climate change (and other major issues)…..I can’t do everything though…..

    w/r your end of article questions….I don’t think they have one answer, different people will feel differently, do differently….and individuals will feel/do differently at different times…

    we each can and must do what we can and support each other in the same….

  11. I will attempt to respond for Bluebolt who has remained anonymous and silent. I do respect his right to do so. He allowed me to publish an email message he sent to me as long as I protected his anonymity.

    Generally people do care says Bluebolt but not the ones making the decisions. That’s an over-generalization because many people in responsible positions and walks of life are starting to make better choices about how they transact with the environment. And millions of people like myself have become very climate active thereby moving the conversation in the right direction.

    Thanks Dave for your interest.

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