On Thursday, I read that global carbon emissions had reached a point of no return. 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide is here to stay, forever. This news remained in the headlines for about a day, then disappeared as if it never happened. As if with the disappearance of the news articles, meant the disappearance of the carbon – Poof. Out of sight, out of mind. Although these articles are no longer trending on Facebook or covering the front page of the newspaper, they’re permanently imprinted in my mind. I haven’t shaken that initial feeling I got when I read the article, and when I fully absorbed what this meant for our world.
I grew up in Marin County, California. I would argue one of the most beautiful places in the world, although admittedly I am a bit biased. The Pacific Ocean, the Headlands, the Redwood forests – they were my backyard. I smile when I think of stepping into the toe-numbing ocean, or walking among the massive trees. My neck would be sore after the walk from looking straight up, trying to catch a glimpse of the treetops. My friends and I grew a connection through hiking and camping; nothing but nature could form a bond as strong as we have. I love to think about all the hikes I’d go on with my mom, or all the sunsets we’ve watched together, and how no matter what we were arguing about the day before, it was all forgotten when we were outside together. I knew I was lucky to grow up in this wonderland, and didn’t think about the possibility of it ever being taken from me.
Grief. That was what I felt when I read these news headlines. Immense, heart aching, heavy, painful grief. Grief for myself, grief for others, grief for the plants and animals, but most of all grief for my children, and their children, and their children’s children. Will they talk about polar bears as animals of the past? Will they talk about the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, or the beauty that used to be the Great Barrier Reef? Will maps look different to them than they do to us, whole cities and islands submerged under the ocean?I don’t have anything profound or earth-shattering to say. I don’t have anything to say that hasn’t already been said about climate change. I’m not writing this to make some grand point, or to try to persuade people to change their lifestyle. I’m just writing this as a young person who’s sad to see our world in danger.