We are already past the point of ‘no return’.

The amount of greenhouses gases already in our atmosphere will result in devastating consequences, even if we all stopped emitting greenhouses gases tomorrow. According to a recent landmark UN report, the consequences of climate change are now expected to be worse than previously thought. Our world economy would need a complete transformation at a speed and scale never seen before in documented human history. The effects of climate change will affect people on all continents. However, regions and countries with lower socioeconomic status will face greater challenges, and we may see increased migration if they are unable to adapt.

So, how do we face what seems insurmountable?

First, we change the way we view our relationship as humans ‘existing’ on this planet. Most of our lifestyles and habits, especially in developed countries like the U.S., can be described as having a more dominant relationship with our natural world. Instead of working with the natural processes of our environments, allowing for replenishment and sustainability, our demands have exceeded our planet’s carrying capacity. If we create a symbiotic relationship with our natural systems, its resilience will likely increase and allow for a stronger foundation to support our planet’s ever-increasing population.

Although our individual efforts matter, true climate change mitigation will improve as we begin to dismantle the larger players who are fighting for their special interests. As we do better at refining our daily personal habits, we should also increase or create habits that contribute to the larger picture. Keeping our politicians and local government in check, donating to nonprofit causes, spreading education of climate change and what we can do to help through our social circles and platforms. What matters is that we contribute to the larger cause in a way that rings true with our purpose- if you’re not the activist type, don’t force it or it’ll be hard to feel like you’re making a difference. Find what lights your fire.

We should also stop viewing our climate change efforts as a destination we will eventually reach, and instead treat it like a practice.

Many of us use practices to help guide and give meaning to our lives- whether it be religion, disciplines like yoga or daily exercise, cultural traditions, etc. These practices don’t provide a promise of hard work bringing us to a certain destination. Instead, they give us joy and purpose independent of an outcome. In all reality, not all of us may live to see the outcomes of our actions relating to climate change- both good and bad. That shouldn’t stop us from making all the efforts we can to do what’s right- for us, or for future generations.

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