Before Climate Summer, I felt overwhelmed about climate change because I wanted to solve this dire issue immediately. I wanted to be a climate ‘superhero’ who swoops in to save the world from climate chaos in the nick of time. Even though the rational part of me knew that this was an unrealistic, unattainable goal, deep down I wanted this because I wanted a sustainable world so badly. To use the cliché, I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders without a clear path of how I was going to save the world.
One of the many valuable lessons I have learned this summer is that I do not have to save the world; in fact, I cannot save the world from climate change. Despite how obvious this may sound, it took me a while to accept this fact. I can envision a sustainable, just world so clearly that it was hard for me to accept that I cannot make it happen. An equally important lesson that I have learned is that it is lots of people working together who change the world by bringing change to their communities. Since the world is so interconnected, one difference does impact the world.
If one only looks at the big picture, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. If one narrows in, however, we realize that global problems are present in our own communities. I’m terrified about the crater that was recently found in Siberia that might have been caused by a methane explosion due to melting permafrost. What’s even worse, I can’t put the methane that was released back into the ground. I can, however, help Massachusetts communities stop a natural gas pipeline expansion that would cause even more methane to escape into the atmosphere, further exacerbating global warming.
I try to remind myself that I can only do my part. If everyone across the world tackled every new fossil fuel infrastructure expansion, we could actually mitigate climate change. It has been wonderful working with passionate people this summer trying to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. The people we have met across Massachusetts are saving the world even if they do not know it. Trying to stop this new natural gas pipeline is one of the pieces of the puzzle of saving the world from the worst of climate change. When I do this work, I remind myself of this quote, “Whoever saves one life saves the world entire” because it is everyone making small differences that will save the world.