Keeping positive in the face of climate disaster

An internet buddy of mine posted in a private Slack group we're part of about how the weight of climate change is affecting his mental health. With the wildfires, heatwaves, and hurricanes coming for California(!), it's easy to feel despair. This post is my (slightly edited) reply.

Having a child was a kind of catalyst for me and climate change. Action is how you fight the weight of climate change. None of our individual actions will solve the climate crisis alone (as it’s largely a systems problem), but action breads action from those around us.

In Saving Us (great book, highly recommend), one of the things the author talks about is how one person’s actions influence their neighbors. For example, let’s say a neighbor sees you doing X that’s positive for the climate (composting, getting solar installed, switching to electric transport / cycling).

This in turn influences your neighbors
  • Directly, as it creates an opportunity for discussion about this topic with your neighbors. They might be on the fence about doing any of these and they can chat with you about it and your motivations. This plants and water seeds in their mind about the issues, as well as creates deeper community bonds, and we’re going to need them.
  • Indirectly - neighbors that pass by your house notice X…so it plants a seed…and a few house down they see X again. After a period, X is now an acceptable and something that this neighborhood does. You can see solar panels spread through neighborhoods like this - one person got them, then a few houses down, and a few houses down, then a few house down…and pretty soon the neighborhood is powered by the sun (either by panels directly, or by the excess the neighbors are pushing into the grid).

It does feel like we’ve passed a tipping point. Be part of voices that demand the system changes and encourage those around you to do the same.

This said, the energy transition is also happening at an incredible pace. We’re deploying more solar, wind, and batteries at a faster pace than ever before and it’s not slowing down. For me personally, joining a group of companies that’s fighting climate full stack was how I deal/dealt with the weight of climate change and the future I want for my kid. I am but a cog in the machine, but everyone around me has the same sense of urgency. And when it feels hopeless, I can see / hear about new wind farms/solar farms we’re deploying or see the number of people actively working on it, and I feel like…we (humanity) got this (energy transition).