That’s the state of many environmentalists and ecologists these days when faced with the growing ravages of human-caused climate change and a when confronted with a society that has ignored their pleas for rational societal response for decades.
And who can blame them?
They were the ones who acted first. Who took on vegan diets. Who stopped driving cars. Who stopped using airplanes. Built solar and carbon neutral homes. Who blockaded pipelines and coal plants. Who threw themselves bodily into the ocean in front of massive oil tankers in an attempt to halt their operations.
These individuals acted, they fought, they set the example. And who listened? Who followed in their footsteps? Who understood the cause — the most important of all things — they were fighting for?
Is it any wonder that collections of severely depressed persons crop up with greater and greater frequency? That blogs and whole web communities are dedicated to the notion of coping with what many see to be an inevitable near term human extinction?
Why did so many people turn deaf ears to those fighting for climate action over the long years? And why have so many of us now succumbed to hopelessness?
Perhaps it is well a sign of the terrible time in which we live. A time in which individualism rose to ascendency and crowded out all other views. A time in which any collective action was disparaged to the point that the term collectivism itself became a bad word. We were seen as responsible for only ourselves — but not for each other.
We became members of the church of selfishness and so many of us became blind to the impact of that all too narrow view on the world around us. On our communities, our churches, our cities, indeed our civilizations and ultimately our world.
We thought that by taking on selfishness that we would grow stronger. But, instead, we gave up an essential human strength. We gave up the ability to effectively work together.
But climate change is a problem that no individual alone can solve. A problem that requires the strength of individuals collected together and acting as one.
A raindrop cannot fill a creek bed. But a rainstorm can.
If we are to deal with climate change we must cast off the old constraints and the old views that have trapped us for so long. We must learn to act, not as individuals, but as members of a larger union. As a group that multiplies the strength of our parts. We much collect. We must gather. And we must focus our energies.
In this, Naomi Klein is absolutely correct —
We must first learn to believe that we are worth saving. And, in doing so, to understand that working collectively to halt climate catastrophe is now the most good and needed of things.
(Hat tip to Colorado Bob)