WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
Sometimes friends will ask me if refusing a plastic straw during cocktail hour really matters or if shopping at the farmers' market actually makes a difference. These are valid questions: right now, we need massive change to keep our climate safe, and that massive change is contingent on major action within the political, social, and economic realms.
For me, the small stuff most definitely matters. Focusing on the little things—choosing to cook closed-loop, living trash-light— doesn't detract from the energy I have to pour into bigger campaigns. If anything, it gives me the momentum to join fossil fuel protests, to support large-scale food waste initiatives, to campaign for the kind of life I want for myself, and those I love, and the children I'd like to be able to bring into this world.
Because when I put power in myself, I'm better able to perceive the incredible power that exists in the people.
Example: Politics frustrate the hell out of me. I am so deeply afraid of the kind of trauma that climate change deniers can create. At this juncture in history, every single one of us can physically feel the effects of a shifting climate—it's evident in our air, in our water, in our land. I don't get why the f**k the government isn't refusing fossil fuels full-stop (money, I know, I know. But is money worth more than you child's life?) As Bill McKibben powerfully articulates, a World War 2 mobilization is possible.
Man, am I ready for mobilization. And I know for myself that my eagerness to fight ferociously for a more sustainable future exists because of the changes I have made in my everyday life. I have interacted with several activists who are quick to judge environmentalists celebrating simple shifts. To me, that's bullshit.
We all need to start somewhere.
We all need to find our own way.
And we all need to support each other in discovering the route(s) that grant us access to co-creating the world we want. The stakes are too high to argue over whether "small steps" make a difference. Does recycling empower you to to compost? Does learning to compost inspire you to volunteer on a farm? Does farming inspiring you to support Soil For Life? If any step brings you closer to a present you feel at home inhabiting, it matters.