Issues

What You Can Do Even if You Can’t March for Science on Earth Day

Safe to say, some people are not having a good day today. We’re speaking of those people who reject science, and climate science in particular, and since we can’t off-planet (because hint, hint: there is no Planet B) these people we need to offset their presence:

Tom Nelson, who posted this, says “Climate change is the religion of people who think they’re too smart for religion.” Well, one can imagine atheists will have a lot to say about that. But religion isn’t about “smarts” but about “belief.” There are plenty of scientists who are also religious just like there are plenty of people like Mike Pence, who don’t “believe” in climate change but believe in Noah’s Ark.

So yes, by all means, let’s talk about smarts, Tom. We SO need to talk.

Tom’s hashtag didn’t catch on, but there are plenty who feel the way he does. The best answer to people like Tom is to do something to change the world, and there is something all of us can do even if we can’t be marching today. I can’t be marching today. I’m writing. But I’m drinking out of an NDK vacuum bottle instead of a disposable plastic bottle.

Sign petitions, write letters to the editor and just plain try to reduce your carbon footprint. As Carbon Fund puts it, “Reduce What You Can, Offset What You Can’t.” That includes just driving better:

You could save more than a ton of CO2 per year by:

– Accelerating slowly and smoothly
– Driving the speed limit
– Maintaining a steady speed
– Anticipating your stops and starts

If you’re walking or riding a bike (as I once did to work) or using mass transit, you are already helping.

Make no mistake, however: there are a lot of Toms up against you and the fight for our environment is an uphill battle and Donald Trump in the White House has only added to our burden.

The editors of New Jersey’s Star-Ledger write in honor of Earth Day that “Climate denialist Trump should just rename it ‘Scorched Earth Day.'”

He was completely silent on the subject instead, and the editors make the point that to ignore Earth Day “is to surrender to an ideology that has turned mere environmental indifference into a moral nihilism.”

The Republican Party has been partial to moral nihilism for some time now, many of us would argue, and not just on climate change. Look at their approach to health care and caring for refugees and the homeless and unemployed. It’s endemic and has been for some time.

The Union of Concerned Scientists addresses the disinformation playbook and some of the major “skeptic organizations” combating environmentalists with money provided by the fossil fuel industry. If you visit, you can also tell Trump you support science.

It is true also, as EarthDay.org tells us that the rot is deep: we have “Climate change deniers, well-funded oil lobbyists, reticent politicians, a disinterested public, and a divided environmental community.”

Vance Lehmkuhl, writing at Huffington Post makes the point that “even among the environmentally serious, there’s a split between those who acknowledge scientific, quantifiable facts and those who go for, well, ear-plugging accompanied by magical and/or wishful thinking.”

We don’t have to be fanatical vegans, however, to combat climate change. There are things everybody can do, from the better driving mentioned above to recycling to rejecting plastic bags and disposable plastic water bottles.

You can drive an environmentally-friendly car, if not electric, then flex-fuel or just one with improved gas mileage. I got rid of my SUV for a subcompact that gets 28 mpg instead of 12.

It is a battle all of us can fight. If you need a place to start, try texting “Resist” to 877-877 (Greenpeace). This will guide you to an online volunteer hub.

And that’s the key. Even if we can’t march today, there are things all of us can do. We can all contribute. Offset yourself, and while you’re at it, one of the Tom’s of the world, because damn sure he won’t do it himself. He’s too busy thinking he’s clever.

We can’t afford the Tom’s of this world. We can’t afford moral ambivalence, or worse, moral nihilism.

Photo: Earth Day Network

Hrafnkell Haraldsson

Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen's Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.

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