Framing the Big Picture


Written by Andrew Nguyen, Video Co-Coordinator, Team Massachusetts

“The goal in life isn’t to live forever, the goal is to make something that will.”      -Chuck Palahniuk

As the realization begins to set in that this is what we’re giving our summer to, so does the inevitable doubt and second-guessing. Wide-eyed and hopeful youth still unchained by the approaching demands of work, family, and other concerns—is life being lived to the fullest?

Is Climate Summer making a difference? Am I making a difference? Can I?

At the end of the day, I may never know if any of my environmental work helps mitigate climate change.

And that’s okay.

That does not mean to say I do not care if climate change ends up destroying our species and planet, but rather that I will be at peace with the path I’ve chosen to take.

In the end, it is about living one’s morals. Thich Nhat Hanh says, “Our own life has to be our message.”  In this world where corruption runs rampant and is propped up by complex, artificial systems, it is easy, even acceptable, to become apathetic.

That doesn’t make apathy morally just.

During my involvement with the environmental movement, I’ve met many apathetic people. These people know the effects of climate change and realize the imperative to stop it but are resigned and feel powerless. The system is too big. We’re too dependent on fossil fuels. I’m only one person.

I’m guilty of feeling overwhelmed and wanting to give up myself. But caving in, following the pack, and allowing my life to be governed by the pursuit of goods and wealth isn’t the solution. It is only reinforcing our current materialistic, selfish culture.

A reframing of values, one based upon community, love, and harmony—true intrinsic values that have been corrupted by envy and competition—leads to a retooling of one’s sense of purpose.

The same can be said for the drive of one’s purpose. Reframing the thought, “I am only one person,” into, “I am someone,” revitalizes one’s drive. I have a voice and not only that; I am part of a collective choir. Society tries to make people forget this by driving them apart.

You need to be independent. You need to be the best. Be cutthroat. Be greedy. Be selfish. Take care of yourself and forget about others.

We’ve lost trust. We’ve lost care. We’ve lost love.   

It is reaffirming and nourishing a sense of belonging that will allow us to come together, not as individuals, but as a community. That is the work I am doing this summer—rebuilding the ties and bonds, which have been severed by the influence of society. And together, united, we will be able to make change.

Andrew Nguyen.

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3 Responses to Framing the Big Picture

  1. I am so sorry I missed you when you were in Lexington! You are clearly on a productive path!
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Susan Fairchild says:

    Andrew,
    This is so beautifully written. There is no doubt that you have already made a difference! Keep rolling. You are my inspiration!

  3. MarkfromLexington says:

    That is a very important message and beautifully written. Thank you!

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