Photo by Gary Colet on Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

COSTA RICA: Earth’s Last Call

What if we approached climate change like a game of chess?

Make the first move, build your strategy little by little, and make the difference.

The sun felt slightly warmer than usual, the wind dry against her skin. All those green meadows she’d run through had turned yellow, and every trace of the rivers she had once bathed in were reduced to sad, dry patches on the ground.

As she stood over that mountain, just at the edge of dusk, only one thought—more of a question—crept into the back of her mind: Was this really how it all would end?

This could be you one day. What if you climbed your favorite mountain from when you were a kid and only devastation and agony waved back at you?

I bet we’ve all heard something about how our planet is slowly changing. And none of us can really fool ourselves, because deep down we do know Earth is dying. Come on, you don’t actually believe all those videos of glaciers melting, forests burning, and massive industrial expanses are based on a bunch of Hollywood effects, now, do you?

I can assure you the smoke you see coming out of all those factories isn’t a hologram. Do you think the Amazon rainforest is vanishing magically? Countries near the equator are exposed to heavier waves of heat as time goes by. People in Mexico, Egypt, Sudan, and all over the world are suffering from this and the repercussions it carries. Ice at the poles is disappearing, fading away like dust.

It’s more than disappointing to see what has gotten us to this point. Before, you could say we still had a chance to go back and reverse our actions to avoid the fatalities we’re now facing, but everyone thought it was a joke until they actually woke up one morning, sweating on their beds, and wondered why that summer was so hot compared to the others.

How many speeches or articles before someone takes the time to put that plastic bottle where it belongs or tell the waiter it is best not to use a straw?

People take these warnings as a joke. They hear so many warnings, it is like hearing an everyday phrase like ‘hello’ instead of something to worry about.

“Oh, how sad! A turtle choking on a six-pack plastic,” they say, opening their beer can and taking a long, refreshing sip.

Is it honestly that hard to realize this isn’t our planet? What will happen the day you wake up, walk lazily to your sink, try to brush your teeth, and then notice that there’s only a light stream of water coming out of it? You will call the water company, ask them if anything’s wrong with your payment, only to hear that this is happening all around the world.

We were not here from the start; we were offered a chance to be here.

It’s not that hard to separate your trash, to look for places that can process electronic waste instead of throwing it in your everyday bin. It’s not that hard to pick up that plastic wrapper you walked by on the street. It’s not that hard to turn the light off when you leave the room so that you don’t waste unnecessary energy. It’s not that hard to shut off the water faucet when you’re brushing your teeth or rubbing soap on your body in the shower.

Little things do help. If we don’t make an effort now, what will happen in the next few years? Take a moment to look at the news. I recently read an article about people in the US city of Phoenix this summer who were literally astonished by how hot it was. Mailboxes and trash cans would melt, and some people even took their time to prove you can actually bake cookies on your car.

Global warming isn’t a hoax. It wasn’t invented by the Chinese. And it’s most certainly not going away if we don’t do something to change our horrible habits now.

I get it. You might wonder what you can do as just one person, but ask yourself this: How do you win a chess game? I’ll tell you the answer: You win it by moving one piece at a time.

Make the first move, build your strategy little by little, and make the difference. Go and present recycling projects at your office. Go big and persuade your community to implement green programs. I guarantee you will see that soon enough, many more people will join those projects and will share the same thoughts.

For me, it started with the small things: Sending back the straws, asking my parents to separate the trash, reusing bottles, reducing my consumption of plastic and paper. This helped me see the big picture: Countries all over the globe worrying about which of them looks the strongest. But what does power matter if you’re killing the planet you intend to rule one day? The fact that society is centered on these selfish goals is breaking the natural balance. We need to do something.

Don’t wait until you wake up that one morning and see the world crumbling down. This might be Earth’s last call.

Are you willing to sit down and watch it fade away, or will you do something to change this?


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Comments

Beautifully written Arianna, thank you. I clicked through to the article you read about Phoenix, and was shocked to see that "climate change" was not ONCE mentioned, either in the article or in the comments. It's hard to believe these extreme weather events are becoming more and more frequent and yet scores of people still aren't waking up to these warnings.

I love how you have built your strategy little by little, and I wanted to share an "Eco Challenge" that may be of interest to you. The organization is based in my hometown of Portland, Oregon, but it is a global challenge. Please take a look, I'd be curious to know what you think and if you might participate and invite your friends and family! I'll be signing up soon, myself. :) https://ecochallenge.org

In solidarity,

Chelsea

Dear Arianna,

Thank you so much for this call to action on the crisis we people are creating on our beautiful planet. It is so true that there are changes we can make individually that will have significant effect, especially if more and more of us look carefully and deeply at what we each can do. I too clicked on the article about Arizona and was discouraged that (even though I love animals)  a string of responses about making booties for pet dogs was the predominant discussion. You have turned the conversation to stir new actions by your strong and beautifully written reminder that ignoring how we treat the earth is not an option. The ecochallenge going on in Portland that Chelsea has shared creates hope and fits perfectly with offering ways that we can rethink what we are doing now,  and what we could do differently. I know from earlier stories within World Pulse that so many of us here love our planet. Let's take your words to heart and cause change in all of our communities. You are so right. "We need to do something".

In sisterhood,

Tam

Hi Arianna,

It's scary to think that the future you depict in your post could be true one day but I think you're right that we are heading there. I really like the chess analogy and I think that's a constructive and smart way to approach this. Thanks for sharing your ideas and posting!

Best wishes,

Julia

Hello Arianna,

I am so inspired and challenged by this piece. You said it all 'Make the first move, build your strategy little by little, and make the difference'. 

Thank you for being an eye opener

Thank you   Arianna, for reminding me of my commitment to make the earth a beautiful place and to stop her  from dying.  A wonderful reminder.  

Thank you. I promise to do my quota too. Together we can.

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale Founder/Project Coordinator Star of Hope Transformation Centre, 713 Road, A Close, Festac Town Lagos-Nigeria https:

My dear sister thank you very much for writing on such an important topic, you are right most people still take climate change as a joke, in my country there are few people who know about it, when I did a campaign on climate change awareness I was surprised that there was not even single person in a village who knew about it or who took it serious and you are right this is a most important thing to talk about, please do contact me so that we can work together on such issue 

Sister Zeph Founder & Chairperson ZWEEF

Winner of World Pulse Lynn Syms Global Prize 2014