Where to begin? First a pandemic, then an act of police brutality that went around the world, followed by peaceful and violent protests. Throw in a couple of hurricanes and you wonder, how to keep your head up in those times of mayhem?
A few days ago I came across a podcast with Tom Rivett-Carmac and Christiana Figueres. The authors were instrumental in the ratification of the Paris climate agreement, a daunting, if not impossible task, to bring more than 190 nations to the table and sign an agreement that requires sacrifice and action. Before the agreement was signed Christiana Figueres was asked at a press conference when she would expect all nations to sign the agreement. Her honest, instant response was: “Not in my lifetime”.
When she reflected on her response later she realized this statement was not based on reality or facts, it reflected her attitude. That’s when she came up with the concept of “stubborn optimism”, the determined attitude change, to take action, even if we, as an individual, cannot control the outcome.
During the pandemic if feels as if climate change has taken a second seat. Maybe we can handle only so many crises at a time. But we should remember two things: During the pandemic most people on Earth were forced to change their daily routines. We could not go out as we were used to, we could not buy just anything we wanted to… We did this, because our governments said so, or because our common sense told us. As an individual we did this for our own sake, but in the big picture we did this for the benefit of mankind.
So, in the days ahead we need this relentless optimism, a change of our own attitude, to move on and not go back to business as usual. If we stay passive and just go back to that, we go back to doom-and-gloom with social inequality, racial injustice, and a diminishing quality of life.
Consider that a climate crisis will be orders of magnitude worse than the current pandemic, if we don’t take action. There will be no vaccine, no cure to climate change. Climate changes will have long-lasting effects.
As with the current pandemic, time is of essence.