TACKLING CLIMATE CHANGE
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
Hope is not the pervasive feeling inspired by social media feeds or daily news reports about climate change in the world today. Reports of the Climate Crisis has been responsible for introducing the term eco-anxiety into our lexicon and triggering a “freeze” response that has immobilized too many people from purposeful action. The WILD ABOUT Society wants to shine a light on hopeful ways to learn, live and act to inspire a love of nature, a sense of responsibility as caretakers the environment and empower them to act both individually and collectively. By combining education, positive role modeling, and hands-on experiences, people can develop a strong foundation for environmental awareness and the capacity for action. As Margaret Mead aptly reminds us, hope has always been the driver for positive change in the world. I love the story of the person walking on the shoreline of the beach on an unexpectedly hot day. The tide has gone out leaving a plethora of starfish reliant on a water vascular system for movement and respiration, stranded on the quickly drying sand. One by one the person picks up the starfish and tosses it into the water. As people pass, they laugh and comment that he’s never going to be able to make much of a difference.
He responds, “I can for this one,” as he tosses a starfish back into its watery world.
I am at loss to delineate how we can solve the heartrending and complex issues plaguing both humanity and the environment. Closing our eyes or throwing up our hands in helplessness doesn’t make the problem disappear and it lays the soul open to despair. By combining education, positive role modeling, and hands-on experiences, people can develop a strong foundation for environmental awareness and the capacity to advocate and enact positive change. The point of entry is always awareness and appreciation of nature. When I think back to my upbringing, one thing that made all the difference for me. Opening the door and walking outside into nature was the beginning of a lifelong love affair. There was so much to do and so much to learn about the spaces, places, and the things living there. Granted I was fortunate as I child. My first home was not far from Jericho Beach in Vancouver, British Columbia. There were forested areas not far away in the University (of British Columbia) Endowment Lands, Stanley Park, and many other beaches and neighbourhood parks in walking distance. I was never at a loss for something to do. For part of every summer, I went to visit my father in Los Angeles. That is where I learned about smog. I could see it sitting on the horizon and it hurt my lungs when I took big breaths after an afternoon swimming in the pool. The direct lesson about the impact of burning fossil fuels on human health came early.
Inspiring climate action and a sense of responsibility in people requires knowledge, critical thinking skills and a sense of hope. There are many legitimate concerns about accelerating climate change, deforestation, pollution, and loss of biodiversity that require action. Politicians and global money making enterprises must be held to account for perpetuating money making practices that line their pockets and diminish individual efforts. However without a hopeful populous with a connection to nature, knowledge about ecosystems, and models for sustainable practices, we cannot hope to develop the critical thinking skills and enlist the artistic expression necessary to amplify the voice and action required for climate justice and conservation efforts. Please add your thoughts and ideas about the three areas listed below. Some the feedback has already been developed into programs for The Tidal WAV 2024 Outdoor Learning Festival. The goal is to spark meaningful conversations about environmental challenges and developing events, programs and activities in conjunction with like-minded individuals, partner groups, and interest groups to celebrate Wild About Outdoor Learning Society programs throughout British Columbia in 2024.
- Fostering Awareness
- Promoting Sustainable Habits
- Inspiring a Sense of Responsibility
A blog post initially published by Carrie Froese on the Inquire2Empower Consulting educational blog and modified for the Wild About Outdoor Learning Society website.