July 2019 set the record for the hottest month on Earth. The United States Environmental Protection Agency reversed a previous decision to prevent mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is set to approve a Special Report on Climate Change and Land this week, which is likely to expand upon previous reports' grim predictions.
Despite these seemingly hopeless headlines, there are plenty of reasons to stay positive in the face of climate change. It's so easy to feel defeated in the midst of the crisis, but we can't give up! So many people are fighting for the sake of humanity and for the sake of the planet, so the best thing we can do is fight alongside them.
One thing that I've found that has really helped me to see past all the stormclouds (metaphorical and literal) of climate change has been a newsletter called "The Beacon". Produced by Grist, an independent news outlet focusing on climate and sustainability, The Beacon is a daily newsletter bringing you "your daily dose of good news". I admit that I may not read each email all the way through, but with one hopeful headline a day, it is so much easier to see the good in the world - and in the people defending it. Grist also publishes other informative newsletters, so visit their website to subscribe to those which strike your fancy.
In addition to The Beacon, I utilize social media when I need a boost in my environmentalist ego. I follow many different accounts on Instagram and Twitter that post hopeful, exciting content. I follow the hashtag "#zerowaste" for tips on plastic-free living. I also follow the hashtag "#oceanoptimism," started by Dr. Elin Kelsey. I heard her speak earlier this year and was inspired to write "Is Environmental Hope The Key To The Survival Of Our Planet?". Kelsey's message was to aim for "wild, contagious hope" in both casual conversations and large scale discussions regarding climate change. We won't get near as far with pessimism as we will with a mass movement of optimism.
And to turn that goal into reality, I am thrilled to say that we have a fantastic group of leaders in Congress willing to get the ball rolling. Last week, Rep. Ilhan Omar introduced a Zero Waste Act to create a federal grant program specifically to address waste! Rep. Omar has already seen an agreement by and support from environmental organizations as well as fellow Congresswomen. The bill is part of the #GreenNewDeal and, I believe, has the potential to succeed in the near future.
I introduced the Zero Waste Act last week to combat the ongoing climate crisis within our communities. We cannot… https://t.co/jN2HljT9Fy— Rep. Ilhan Omar (@Rep. Ilhan Omar) 1564773900.0
Nearly every day I see articles or posts blaming the everyday American for being a part of the problem. The guilt tactic may encourage some small changes, but overall it's only a way for corporations to reject the blame and shift it to the consumer. Every little bit counts, so reduce, reuse, and recycle, but don't settle for just that! Talk to your legislators, join in marches and rallies, and use your power as a consumer to make a real difference. There are plenty of doom and gloom aspects of our current climate crisis, but it won't last forever. The good is coming, so seek out the positives and pass them on!
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