Books On Climate Change Don’t Work?
Some of us know that climate change is real. Others, even though believing the same, are still rather skeptical about the idea that we, humans, are the cause of it. But the truth stays. There are constant changes in our biosphere that are affecting thousands of species every day. And for thousands of animals these changes cause death.
Last year I read 4 books on climate change but there are hundreds of them available today in almost all languages. The question is why, in this abundance of information available to us today, we do not care about it as much as we should? Is it because there is something wrong with us, humans? Or is it something else?
I think I might have a partial answer to such a complex question.
One of the 4 books I read last year was This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein. It was an exceptionally enlightening read. How did it make me feel? Stressed. Urgent. Guilty. And pretty much confused. Because it was aiming to set me on fire with the horrible truth. It wanted my immediate action but gave me no guarantee on immediate results.
The problem lies in how our mind operates. Huge part of our lives is merely a product of our mind. Religion, our beliefs, our dreams, lifestyles, even history. These are made by our mind and are a huge part of our lives. Reality, the real world that includes nature and animals and even ourselves, on the other hand, is almost beyond our attention now.
A lot of people today feel more connected to their religion and/or beliefs than they ever will to the nature and animals around them. So these books that create environmental emergencies are aiming wrong. They make us, readers, collide with the real world without understanding that the problem lies in our complete, as species, separation from it.
How effective do you think it would be if I pushed you from one side of the river to another without building the bridge first?
In the world where we can't even take care of the animals that we have tamed, like dogs, cats, cows, horses, etc., and of the nature and birds that surround us, how can we skip this part and jump straight on to the rescuing of the wild animals, wilderness, and our planet? How, when we still can't sort and recycle garbage and keep it off our streets and fields we walk every day, will we be able to care about the industrial pollution?
Our brain isn't helping either
Stress kills brain cells. And reading books on the environment or news about another ecological disaster resulting in death of animals is a lot of stress. It affects our mental health, makes us feel powerless, and doomful and see no hope for this world and ourselves.
A lot of people today care, that is true. But, as I already said earlier, the problem is that all of this creates an emergency, a call to act immediately but does not give any promise of immediate results. Because a) we are disconnected from the real world around us like animals and nature, and b) in our small attempts we feel useless and lonely because news and big corporations' agenda avert our attention from what really matters.
Should I stop living comfortably in order to save the planet?
What is a comfortable life for us today? Cars, planes, cheap products that are harmful not only for the environment but also contribute to poverty and unethical usage of human labor. And though I can’t imagine our lives without cars and planes, I know that we absolutely can be more mindful about what products we consume on a daily basis.
Rebellious display of activism
For a lot of people activism can be quite triggering. Remember the activists from Just Stop Oil that have thrown tomato soup over Vincent van Gogh’s Sunflowers at the National Gallery in London? Yeah. It was supposed to attract people’s attention to global problems but I feel like it had quite the opposite effect. A lot of people considered the activists “young and stupid” and their whole movement “dumb”. The government did not care either.
The effectiveness of such acts is debatable but the reason why most people did not get the message and were averted by the way of its display lies in social divisions. Look, we can’t even decide what is right and what is wrong in politics. We all seem to value life but at the same time it feels like the life we all value is different (does it make sense?). And let’s not forget that a lot of people are struggling with their mental health, so many are in physical or mental pain. Asking these people to just forget about it because we have a bigger problem here is ineffective.
If we want changes we have to come up with a better plan. Because not everyone can be an activist. At least for now.
And if these books and actions are targeting only certain people, then I do not think it is effective either. Because to save our mutual home, our planet, we need everyone.
There is no quick solution but there is hope
I do not have a quick solution here, but reconnecting to the real world around us, to nature and animals, is where we have to start. Each time I see a homeless animal I know for a fact that it is someone’s happiness, wandering the streets. Our pets are our family—they are the source of our happiness. Nature, animals and the ocean can heal us. Their survival depends on us just like ours on them. Unlike the illusions we are building in our minds, which is the source of our mental struggle and unhappiness, this is real.
Climate change is real. It needs our immediate action. But even more it needs us to reevaluate the way we, as a species, live on this planet.