Today is the first day of fall. Even though it is my favorite season, I feel that the transition from summer to fall is a big leap, one to which it takes me time to adjust. Everything suddenly changes so much with the arrival of the rain that lasts days at a time, and with the decreasing sunlight that was, so recently, so strong. The temperature drops and, all of a sudden, the grapes that hung all summer long in the yard are finally ripe. In a few days, they will be gone because we will have already enjoyed them. The vines will take a break, a well deserved one for that matter, after offering us so much. Nature really does take a break for a while, and so can we.
Fall is a perfect time to shift our mindset inward and, instead of focusing on all the fun activities summer offers, we can pay attention to what we feel, think and believe in. In this Strike September, the issue of climate change is tightly attached to my senses; it has become a natural component of all the change I see, feel and think about this time of the year. I truly believe that, this September 2019, we are navigating a leap, an evolutionary leap that is taking us to the next level as a society.
Challenges amount, that is true, but I cannot help but see positive change. Greta Thunberg began her strike, alone, only one year ago at age 15. Nonetheless, she has stirred the pot so much and so deeply, that children from the whole wide world (from 150 countries, more precisely) have joined her. She speaks up, she stands up to hypocrisy, on behalf of all of us, and now she knows she is not too small or too young to make a difference. She is unstoppable.
There has truly been a lot of positivity going on, not only in September, but during all of 2019 so far. Corporate giants have put several sustainable actions in place, the technological evolution in plastic recycling has become a game changer, and the circular economy model becomes more concrete every day. You may call me naïve, but I disagree. I ask you, then, to agree to disagree with me and keep reading.
Teenage anger, sadness, and confrontation are not only necessary but (I dare to say) also vital to keep us moving forward after September. It is Greta’s role, it is her place to demand action. Her tenacity inspires and brings about awareness and reflection. To those who publicly label her claims as the result of hormonal manifestations of anger that only serve to sound apocalyptical, I say the same she has said: stop with that, because that is evil and no one is pure evil.
No adult has to be mean or aggressive because of upsetting truths; not publicly anyway. One may do that in the privacy of their own space, but our society does not have time or energy to spare with such awful manifestations of frustration. The children and teenagers who stand by Greta have the right to call us to action, but we adults do not have the right to bully her or them.
We will inevitably keep seeing this awful attitude about the climate news, but that is simply because people, sometimes, say what they shouldn’t; and because sad, angry, sensationalist news sells more than bright news. And that is okay, because everyone who is listening and acting upon the climate knows that the wave of consciousness is much bigger than the noise bullies can make.
If you’ve read this far, I believe you have also decided not to skip Strike September; you are aware and ready to act. So what is your climate action? Have you decided to join in on the strikes? The next one here in the Netherlands is this Friday 27 September in The Hague. I’m dying to go, but unfortunately can’t. So to feel connected to the crowds, here’s what I’ll do:
eat vegetarian meals;
use exclusively my bicycle as transportation in the city (and hope the wind is not blowing too hard);
take the train to go to Amsterdam in the evening to speak at the Open Night for expats (check out my social media!);
bake vegan cakes for Friday’s celebration at my son’s school;
use reusable items to distribute the baked goods, in a plastic-free and disposables-free way;
work voluntarily at school to decorate tables with 100% reusable or natural materials (including tree nuts and leaves!);
hang out with the awesome community at my son’s Vrije School;
have my reusable water bottle on me at all times, as well as my plastic-free snacks for the day;
take a shower under 5 minutes long.
With these actions, I will be contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions by reducing my own weekly emissions. In case you’re looking for simple ideas or inspiration, I’d suggest you begin by adopting the vegetarian menu for the day and establishing this Friday as a no-shopping day. Why? Because meat consumption and the consumption of goods (as in “stuff”) are the two major sources of CO2 emissions. So by preparing salads for the day and buying only the food you need, you’ll be making a positive impact. If you’re new to Climate Action, keep following this blog to find out how to incorporate sustainable habits to your routine in a simple, sustainable manner, now and after September ends. And by sustainable I also mean that I’ll help you pick new habits that will really stick.
Please leave your comments, I love to chat!
Thanks for reading,