Facing Our Reality

What Can We Do to Stop Climate Change?


It’s the question we are all asking ourselves. How can I, as one person, save this world? We are all simply, one person, after all, wondering “What is my role in all this?”

I’ve only taken a few college courses, I’m an energetic mother, writing when I can to make money, and preparing to re-enter the job market. Things are rough. Everywhere. I look and I see it all, writhing through day to day life like some kind of demented animal from a horror movie. It moves so silently and slow. When I picture it, I see an oil blob monster, oozing into every crevice of our world some way or another.

I think of this often. My life has loosely revolved around recycling. My father worked for a recycling company when I was a little girl. Some of my earliest memories are of riding around in his recycling truck that looked much like a ups truck, tall, brown and monolithic. Things felt hopeful then, even though it had its scary moments. Then that recycling company disappeared. I remember it well. In fact, I could show you exactly where it was, but I realized, I’ve been avoiding the place subconsciously.

I’ve been thinking a lot on that place recently. It was rough around the edges, but a good company.
That was a long time ago now, and I’m beginning to realize how much has changed here at home. I mean, even the feeling or energy of my home is different.

I’m sure you’re feeling this too. All of us, around the world, are now having to deal with things that are big, that feel beyond our control. I’m no expert, but I have my own ideas. I try to find ways through things like YouTube tutorials, learning about how to reuse the stuff around me. I feel guilty now, every day I go to pick up food for my family, or when we need to purchase new clothes and shoes. I have to remind myself that everyone has to do these things, and the corporations are the ones that need to make huge changes to their packaging and production. Still, I want to do more.

I think that much of the answer is in thrift shops, and there are also ways you can improve upon what you find there. We are constantly surrounded by clutter, it’s amazing how it grows, and we tend to chose to throw it away, because it’s easier than finding another use for it. I feel we are in a time where we all must make that choice, and decide to readjust our lives, our businesses, and even how we give to one another.

So many things run through my mind, ever since I realized what the U.N. climate report was saying. Part of me has been struggling with the feeling of mourning ever since. When I was a child, it felt like we were so close, within grasp of making the required changes. What happened?

I’ve gotten to thinking about the possibilities in a town like mine. We have an array of artists and independent businesses. They help the city thrive, bringing in tourism and generating revenue. I’m scared because many of the businesses that have been here for ages are going bankrupt, or hanging on by the skin of their teeth. The buildings have gotten bigger, the summers have gotten hotter, and the artists and businesses we love and depend on struggle to keep the town afloat.

An idea struck me recently. Our city could hold competitions for artists, where they could showcase art, completely constructed from garbage taken out of the local dump. Lowell Observatory (the famous place where the “dwarf” planet Pluto was discovered) could hold science fairs for children and adults to have a number of categorized competitions, the main requirement being to create new things using trash from our landfill. How wonderful would that be? This is something that I have even considered contacting the National Science Foundation about. Imagine every city across the United States, holding science and art festivals entirely dedicated to reusing trash!

The current recyclers here are a bit of a joke. They under bid the company my dad worked for, and the company died not long after. I know some of the people who were a part of it. I see them around town sometimes, and time has been rough on many of them, but still, we hang in there. Because we’re from the West, where everything is always a bit rough around the edges. We’ve faced hard things before, and even if the people are different, I still see us trying.

I would love to talk to people like Coral Evans, our lovely mayor, and our city council members, but I feel as if anything I could bring to a meeting would be nothing but empty words, dismissed with a simple “Thank you for your comments, Mrs. Garza.” I don’t understand the nuances of the political system. Not well enough to make a proposal for city events, but I want to watch these ideas happen here.

I’ve begun holding onto plastic and glass bottles, and I’m working to make things with them that could be sold or given as gifts, in an attempt to prevent myself from buying something else I don’t need. That’s what you have to do between chasing those big roles in your life, because ultimately, all that we do is for family.

Love is the adaptation that brought mammals out of the shadows, and into domanence on this planet. Love has empowered us for millennia to shape or reality because we literally choose to hold the future in our hands when we love. Love is our promise to keep going, even if it burns inside. It causes us to do things we otherwise might not imagine doing.

Here is my own answer to what I do to combat climate change. Support my local businesses, reuse and recycle EVERYTHING that I can, and spend time with my husband and daughter’s, learning how to face this together.
That’s what family does, we face things together. Even when we are apart, we’re always there for each other in thought. The people you truly care about are your foundation. Learn what you can from them, teach them anything they may not know, and listen to each other’s ideas.

Those are the things that make us humans special. Our ability to look at our surroundings and imagine the possibilities. What more does a gardener do, but plan the topographic nature of a yards terrain to create some kind of balanced ecosystem?

Learn what you can about things you can do at home with your family, reusing and recycling what you have in ways that amaze you once you’re done.

I can imagine the world we can build. I can see it, even though I struggled for a while, and still do after knowing that we have only eleven years to change our trajectory. It’s a whole new kind of tall order for all of us, but I believe we can do it.

Hopefully, things like recycling competitions will become a thing soon, everywhere. We need innovative ideas, and we all have a mountain of cleaning to do, but there is worth in the resource of trash. The landfill is the next Gold Rush, and I can feel the shift that will lead to a new era in business, where a business builds together in our communities more, the way that they used to.

It isn’t far off. We can overcome what we are facing, if we face it head on, together. ❤️

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