Increased frequency and intensity of natural disasters around the world. Disappearing islands and coastlines. Mass species extinction and biodiversity loss. Powerful fossil fuel forces contributing to it all.
As Climate Interactive’s Andrew P. Jones and Auden Schendler, Vice President of Sustainability at Aspen Skiing Company, make clear in the title of their recent New York Times op-ed, “Stopping climate change is hopeless. Let’s do it.” At a challenging time for the future of the planet, Schendler and Jones offer readers an incredibly compelling reason to instead feel optimistic about our future: the present.
Equal parts sobering and inspiring, the article points out that our species has faced, and overcome, insurmountable challenges before, as the op-ed says: “Historically, we’ve tackled the biggest challenge — that of meaning, and the question of how to live a life — through the concept of “practice,” in the form of religion, cultural tradition or disciplines.”
Regardless of whether we limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, to give up the fight and succumb to hopelessness would be to violate our natural instinct to survive. Truly, to remain in the ring means to aspire to the very essence of what it means to be human, “The work would endow our lives with some of the oldest & most numinous aspirations of humankind: leading a good life; treating our neighbors well; imbuing our short existence with timeless ideas like grace, dignity, respect, tolerance & love.”
It won’t be easy. It will be hard as hell. Harder than anything we have ever done before. But the rewards are more than worth the fight. As the authors conclude, “Perhaps the rewards of solving climate change are so compelling, so nurturing and so natural a piece of the human soul that we can’t help but do it.”
It begins with how we live our lives every moment of every day.
For more information from Auden Schendler, read his excellent book “Getting Green Done”