Cliffs blanketed in clover and overgrown grasses, blackberry vines mound under the tall cypress canopy. Burgundy striped ice plant weave between wildflowers. At the rocky rim, winds cut away timeless sedimentary layers resembling sky blue and violet. The sky is lined in white scattered clouds, how grateful, how lucky, how safe standing between such a space, among surroundings that I imagine knowing since birth.
The opportunity to live out my lifestyle, culture, and tradition is a privilege. To see the bird, the otter, so much feeling wells up to protect, to honor, to be thankful for nature and life. Yet, people a thousand miles away have no neighbors gloating over their lands, to protect their livelihood, or save their ecosystems. No united front joining to care enough for their privilege. Instead, it’s common knowledge that others regularly face the loss of their livelihood, and have the promise of dislocation to their children. We all enjoy our comforts, maybe wondering what we can do. What can we do? Climate change is not only about most importantly, tangible solutions, but also perceptive, concepts, and morals.
The right to carry out cooperation with the earth’s resources has been denied by constant consumption. Collective consumption and production, greenhouses gases, resource depletion, and pollutants all ruin the preservation of entire nations and future generations to live in their human right and privilege. How many coastal regions and islands are now, and will be underwater? How many communities depending on coastal land and sea for food have been forced to leave their homesteads because of over-fished oceans, polluted oceans, rising waters? Precious, lovely animals that share this earth with us are dying, drowning, starving for lack of food because of warming temperatures. Nations have been relocated and indigenous ways lost because we have treated our home poorly. Will humanity boast that it only loves itself, nothing more, not the earth, or its creatures, just humanity- and realistically not even that.
The only home we have is the earth. We share the earth. We are a world nation, despite our countries and laws. Human and animal rights are universal, at least they ought to be. We all understand the need for resources to maintain the lives we live, and we all see how easy it is to lack consciousness when danger sleeps on our front porch. We do have the ability to do more. Climate change is a world responsibility and when whole communities, even countries are deemed disposable, sorry, but we are murderous. Thank goodness for the people that have invested their time, heart, money, soul, and innovation to push green living forward, because truly, how much longer are we expected to be a part of this cruelty and disregard.
Climate change needs to be on the front burner everyday. Taking care of human well being and what gives us food, water, and resources is a justifiable cause to be at war with old ways of thinking about our environment. People have already lost their homes reaping the consequences of others. Climate change will have the biggest impact on children not even born yet. Climate change has the biggest impact on people who make the least harmful environmental footprint. Who are we! This is not okay. There are too many reasons and excuses, too many naysayers deeming that climate change is not here, unwilling to invest in what we do not see. We do see it though. We are not blind. We are not ignorant. We do care.
People have spoke out for years, advocated for years, pioneered and sweat over speeches, books, documentaries, building businesses, writing laws and policies, desperately trying to help people understand climate change. Thankfully, we now know what green living entails. Caring about our environment is an investment for our children and their children’s lives. If we live, we partake. The small things count. Grow gardens, say no to plastic, go solar, go self-sustainable living. We plant trees, lots of them. We create wild habitats in our yards. When we pluck lettuce, recycle gray water, search for cloth bags to go to the grocery- it all helps. Let’s try and live within our human rights.
We have a responsibility to the earth and to the future, to our children and to others. It’s simple. We are responsible. I don’t have the right to produce significant environmental hazards upon others. I don’t have the right to go into someone’s house and steal from their fridge, pick ax their landscape, flood their home. Not taking action to control climate change is the same thing. Huge corporations, small business, individuals need the environment to be healthy because we live off the earth. Protecting the environment is protecting our lives and all things living.
Do we want to live without environmental accountability? When does making too big a footprint become illegal? When do regulations get tighter and standards of humanitarian laws make a greater impact than they are now? It’s not legal to hurt or kill someone else. Why is it legal to do it slowly? Invisibly. It is visible now. We don’t have a right to continue to do nothing when we know how to create the change that will stop us from hurting others, animals, and the earth. It’s our global responsibility to look after the well being of the earth and its resources.
Capitalism can embrace moral responsibility and also focus on earning money. We can promote love, kindness, and respect along with working hard, maintaining careers, infrastructures, productions, and contributing economically. Earning large amounts of money does not mandate the exploitation of others and earth’s resources, it is a choice. Looking out over the cliffs, seeing the beautiful landscape, pure waters and greenery too bright and thriving to imagine no longer being a part of my world, I ask, “Am I the lucky one, or am I unlucky! Am I not safe!” Rather, I am poor, part of a greater system that destroys smaller cultures not as big or economically developed. We are not proud, we are sorry. I am sorry. We apologize for using more than our share of resources without concern.
Down the road, I hope that we can be proud to say we made changes, we worked to protect future generations. We took care of our resources. Will our children have the opportunity to be proud? We compromise worldwide, destroying the lives of others while our own community’s are sustained. It is not a time to make timid efforts, but each to his own, to know and act responsibility for themselves, fighting to save humanity and our home.