01 January 2011

Climate Change Activism, Love and Loneliness

So, here's to a happier 2011 for all those who have been or will be impacted by climate change. Wait, that's everybody! Well then, happier new year, everyone! I'm longing for a year of good news on the climate front outweighing bad news — a new kind of tipping point. ;-)

I have a story to share. The advice columnist for my favourite environmental news listserve gave (in my humble but opinionated opinion) bullshit advice to a woman whose hubby isn't on the same green path. This woman says she "woke up to the destructive nature" of their "consumer lifestyle" five years ago and is "wrestling" with their "vastly different levels of commitment to changing" this lifestyle. She goes on:
I'm tired of compromising my values. He's tired of compromising the conveniences and luxuries he feels he's "earned" at his corporate job. I feel trapped; he feels judged. Do we keep compromising, or do we divorce and find more like-minded mates?
Along the lines of "listen to him more, don't judge him, take him on a green holiday, get massages at an eco-friendly day spa" (somehow, in my books, "spa" and "eco-friendly" seem oxymoronic if not just downright decadent in an age when so many people still don't have clean drinking water), I thought the advice was more an advertisement for green consumerism.

To shorten a long story ... I submitted a comment that suggested she dump him, because life's too short to spend it with a partner who has terminal entitlement issues. Okay, I'll just give you the whole thing:
I say dump him (and if the roles were reversed, I'd say dump her). He's coming from a world view of entitlement, in a world where billions of people don't have food and water security! Dump him now, and find a like-minded and, more importantly, like-hearted mate you can share your commitment with. He feels judged? He should feel judged! His lifestyle is progenycidal. If you were to have children with this man, his lifestyle would be killing your kids!

As someone who has found a soulmate who spends practically every waking moment fighting the good fight against the climate change emergency, I can tell you now that if your hubby doesn't embrace the notion of sacrificing now for the sake of the future of all children, you will not be happy in your marriage. Get out now, before the future becomes a thing of the past!

(Sorry to disagree with you, [Advice Column Person], but life is short — getting shorter all the time — and simply greening her consumption to try to bring her hubby around will not allow [this woman] to gift her time, energy and money to creating the best possible future for all life on Earth.)

    Now, here's the funny part. In a follow-up comment, a troll (someone who trawls the internet looking for opportunities to interject with stupid / irrelevant / untrue / mean-spirited remarks) called this "environmental fascism." Hmm, now there's a person who hasn't learned their history. (Or were they simply suggesting that I'm intolerant of people who are killing the future?)

    But the follow-up comment to that follow-up comment is what I want to share.
    @GreenHearted, you risk finding yourself stuck in a narrow social isthmus.

    I didn't know whether to laugh or cry! Of course I'm stuck in a narrow social isthmus. I know too much about what we're doing to the planet to be able to hang out with people who don't give a flying leap. Let me tell you, if a wide social network is your goal in life, do NOT study the causes and impacts of global warming and climate change. You become a bore at parties and who the hell wants to invite climate change-fighting vegans to dinner? (We're actually fascinating people and excellent conversationalists, but people don't seem to enjoy our favourite topics of discussion. ;-)

    So sure, sometimes we feel a little lonely on a Saturday night, but know this. The rest of the time, we are both eternally grateful that we've found a kindred spirit in each other, that we share our deepest values and concerns, that we work together on behalf of future generations, of all species.

    Having a soul mate and a few wonderful friends who are on the same good green path (thank you, Cory and Glenn and Nadia and B) — that's more important to us than all the dinner parties in the world. Sure, it's lonely at times on our "narrow social isthmus" but there's room out here for anyone who would like to join us.

    [Isthmus Avenue photo by Modest and Jill]

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    I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?