Earth day / by nigel grey

It was the week after Earth Day, and I saw a performance by writer and activist Kathleen Dean Moore, author of Great Tide Rising: Towards Clarity and Moral Courage in a time of Planetary Change, and pianist Rachelle McCabe. The performance is called “A Call to Life: Variations on a Theme of Extinction.” She begins by talking about reports that say we have lost approximately half of the world's wildlife since 1970. Though this number reflects the general trend of a phenomena that is complicated to calculate, the overall truth still remains the same. Climate change is contributing to loss of wildlife and diversity. She calls the world of today a “world half as wonderful.” Wow.

And after presentations like this, I ask myself, how can I live differently? I continue learn increasingly more about the consequences of climate change and my contributions to the crisis, but why don't I dramatically change my behaviors?

So I start to brainstorm…

  • I could drive less.
  • I could be more politically active.
  • I could buy less “stuff.”
  • I could renounce air travel.

And then I create another list…

  • How would I get to work on time every day?
  • I can hardly check everything off my to-do list as it is.
  • I could start buying less next year.
  • I love to travel!

Of course, these excuses are not sufficient, and I know that I can do more. I need to start somewhere in making a bigger reduction in my carbon footprint. I can keep growing from there.

But also, maybe it’s not that I need more information. Maybe those I try to educate don’t need to learn more about the science of climate change either. Perhaps we need to be drawn into the narrative of our changing planet. How can the story of Earth be our story too? That is the question I want to spend time answering.


Image from NASA

Image from NASA

Dell'Amore, Christine. "Has Half of World's Wildlife Been Lost in Past 40 Years?" National Geographic News, National Geographic Society, 02 Oct. 2014,