“There is no later.” This was the phrase of my first tattoo. I got it shortly after the death of my grandmother. It was to be a reminder of the fragility of life and how there are no guarantees. I also hoped it would help me to accomplish more with the reminder that I didn’t know if I would get another chance to do it.
As time has gone on the tattoo has become more of a part of me and I don’t think about it as much as I’d hoped. Recently though, the idea has been becoming more prevalent in my thoughts. There are a couple of reasons. One is that I’ve been trying to recapture that initial motivation to accomplish things that I felt when I first got the tattoo. The other is more relevant to the mission of EcoFaith Recovery and what I experienced during my internship.
One of the things that struck me from the beginning of my time with EcoFaith was the urgency of the situation. I remember learning about aspects of climate change in high school and then finding out more on my own while in college. I felt I was decently informed on the subject. Still, I was shocked the first time I saw the numbers presented by Bill McKibben. I couldn’t believe how dire things seemed then and now can’t believe how much they’ve changed since they first came out. The numbers paint a grim picture. There is no time to wait. The time to act is now and everyone needs to be involved, no matter how small the action.
Although I have not yet managed to read Naomi Klein’s book This Changes Everything, I was privileged to hear a presentation summarizing it. One of the thoughts communicated that really struck me was how most of us are complicit in the damage and perpetuating ignorance of the impacts of our actions. I know this is true for me. A discussion in a philosophy class I took in college comes to mind. We were discussing walking paths around campus and the grass surrounding them. The debate centered around whether it mattered if one person was to cut a corner of the path by walking across the grass. If a single person does it once, no, it will not have an impact. However, if one person does it, then another, then another and so on, the grass will be destroyed where people have been walking. Through EcoFaith Recovery this is what I have come to believe is the problem with most average people in regards to climate change. If I drive my car will the fumes it releases on its own really matter? Possibly not. But, when you have billions of people thinking the same thing.
As my time with EcoFaith Recovery comes to a close I am going to make a concerted effort to do better. I will do better minimizing my personal impact on climate change. I will do better being an advocate for people and organizations working to affect change. I will do better educating others on what they personally can do. And I will do better to remember that phrase I tattooed on my wrist those years ago. We get one planet, one life. This is it. There is no later.
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