May 12, 2023

Want to make eco friendly choices but struggle with the idea of climate change? We need you, read this!

It’s no secret that when we talk about climate change, climate justice, climate migration… use that word climate and people get polarised. I recently posted a reel from a Climate Action event I went to (lots of people getting together to ask the government to make needed changes.) One overwhelming response was the sentiment that: climate ______ isn’t real. Maybe shockingly for someone who just attended that event, that’s actually something that doesn’t always matter to me.

Words matter less. Change matters more. I mind that we’re making change, but I don’t need our motivation to always be the same.

I asked for people’s thoughts on instagram about what the word “climate” makes them feel. The responses, some of which are below, showed me again that we need to broaden this conversation. Climate is a not a word everyone connects with, for some people it’s a question of what’s true, for some being able to connect, and for others the anxiety a word induces.

It’s the reality and wording choice for some, and the fire that motivates others. But it doesn’t NEED to be your phrase or anyone else’s to still make changes and care. “Climate” has become a buzzword used in so many places. Do you struggle with the word or just not connect with it for any reason? Or know someone who that’s true for? Personally, I don’t believe climate is a word we need to build a movement of caring for the earth and its people. If you’ve felt turned away from making changes because of use of the phrase or idea of “climate change”, just hold on with me. I think there are tangible reasons for making changes on almost every point. Ones that have nothing to do with the earth’s temperature.

We don’t need to fight on semantics: climate doesn’t need to be everyone’s motivation.

For years on instagram I’ve chosen not to use the words climate, climate change, climate migration… anything using climate to talk about the environment. It’s not an avoiding, I’m here to talk about the topic, just without that word. That choice isn’t actually about my own personal conviction on the topic. It’s more that I’ve found it to put more people off than it motivates. Because I believe we can motivate without it, I choose a different route to the same end. The end of  stewarding the earth we’ve been given, and loving the people on it.

But people don’t talk enough about how we don’t have to focus on climate to be a part of the movement for caring for the earth. Whether or not we engage with the science side of climate change, I can totally see that for those of us living in a place not so affected by environmental factors, it’s just not a tangible enough reason to be motivated in our day to day.

An example: Clothing and climate change

Take clothing, the textile industry is responsible for 1/10th TEN PERCENT of global emissions. That’s a huge percentage, from an industry that actually wastes a lot of clothing. This is a clothing dump in Chile that receives both used but also unused that was just never sold and goes straight to landfill.

Addressing Clothing without referring to climate change

But we don’t need people to be motivated emissions and climate change. If we take just this clothing example, we need to reduce our consumption for so many other reasons. Reasons that don’t have to do with the earth’s temperature: the swathes of landfill filled only by clothes, the contamination of waterways from dying, the affect of chemicals on areas growing cotton, and water use. And because the only way to consume at this rate (on our budgets) is if we use unfair labour practises that hurt people.

We need to slow down. Whether we look at climate, or whether we look at many other factors. So pick your motivation, and sometimes let other people have theirs.

We can all be on the journey together.

climate change wording responses via instagram

climate change wording responses via instagram
climate change wording responses via instagram
climate change wording responses via instagram

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