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?
This story was published as part of the World Pulse Story Awards program. We believe everyone has a story to share, and that the world will be a better place when women are heard. Share your story with us, and you could be our next Featured Storyteller!Learn more