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  • Writer's pictureCiara

Environmental Overwhelm - How to Deal

There's a lot related to the environment to get angry about in the news lately and equally (and more) people doing something about it.

Pacific garbage patch... micro plastics... climate change... the Amazon rainforest burning... fracking and earthquakes...

Google news results for the word 'environment' and scroll through pages and pages of search results from the last couple of days and a picture will start to form in your mind. What in the world is going on here?!?

When is too much, too much? Can it get any worse?

Some stories you'll hear repeated over and over on CNN for a week before the headline fades and then others you won't hear about at all unless you do some digging.

I recently found out about a 70+ years long case of environmental injustice near the town where I grew up - waste chemicals from manufacturing plant buried near groundwater reserves, town denies Superfund status to avoid negative stigma, former residents fall ill nearly 50 years after plant closure.

This stuff is no joke, when someone wants to bury the chemicals, the injustice, whatever, the headline gets buried with it. About 5 years ago, I did extensive research on a site less than 10 miles from this "newly discovered" one and never found anything about another potential site in the area.

Good thing the truth comes out eventually.

Aren't we better off not knowing? Ignorance is bliss, they say. What you don't know can't kill you.

Well here are some other musings for you: Love will find a way, indifference will find an excuse and unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing's going to get better, it's not. (Dr. Seuss)

Easier said than done, but don't let all the information out there overwhelm you that you choose to ignore all the bad things and pretend to live in a fairytale world. Use it as fuel, as reminders, as inspiration, whatever to do all the small (or big) things that you CAN do.

Start by using reusable bags. You don't have to clean up an entire coastline of plastic waste.

Start by taking public transit. You don't have to sail across the Atlantic to petition the powers that be to act on climate policy (although, wow, Greta Thunberg, impressive!).

Start by learning where your meat comes from if you're a meat eater. You don't have to swear off animal protein forever.

In a society where it seems like it's all or nothing, stand out by taking small steps forward. Don't refuse to participate in making positive changes out of overwhelm and fear.


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