Words by: Joann Grero
When I sat down to write this, I took a second to visualise my future. With the consequences of climate change being a scary reality, I’ve come to realise that the familiar world that exists in my head, may not be the one I’m faced with in the future.
Climate change is overwhelming — at this point our planet is heading toward total chaos. Sometimes it seems like a hopeless case, so we avoid thinking about it altogether. There’s a desire to remain delusional, in an attempt to avoid an existential crisis. I can understand why — because humans tend to avoid confronting our biggest fears — it’s the easy way out.
Earth’s eventual descent into destruction makes me want to immerse myself in nature while I still can. I want my future to be this picturesque dream: living out a fairy-tale island existence, with the people that I love, surrounded by rolling mountainous landscapes, palm trees that tower over me and beautiful sunsets accompanying the balmy days of late summer. It’s all very tranquil and content, but then reality flips the switch.
I realise that the outcome for all of us will most likely go south in a matter of years. The oceans are rising because the Earth is heating up and melting the ice caps, entire rainforests are being taken off the map by money hungry corporations who use the land for agriculture, and many species will cease to exist in the very near future. I’m scared for the people that will outlive us—if we continue down this road, then every life is at risk. Lack of clean air, safe drinking water, sufficient food supply, secure shelter and extreme weather conditions will wipe out entire communities. There won’t be a planet to inhabit anymore.
A combination of human and institutional decisions has led us to where we are now. It makes me think of hustle culture, which relentlessly trends throughout our society. It feeds into capitalism and has created this tunnel vision worldview—where the main objective is to outdo your fellow counterparts. As you can probably tell, I’m not a huge fan.
I’m all for people wanting to have security and working to achieve their dream, but on the flip side, I think a result of that is us prioritising material value over our wellbeing. We’re always having to chase money at the cost of us slowly losing our minds. Institutions have tricked us into always ‘hustling’, so that we are these money-making machines that serve their own agendas. The idea of happiness is sold to us on a silver platter as ‘achievable’ if we just keep working and consuming every product known to man, as the earth continues to slowly rot.
In my opinion if we were given the time to just stop and not be in constant motion, we could get that much closer to creating a sustainable and idyllic future. It is a relief to see gradual changes being made and a growing population of environmental advocates. I just hope that in the end it’ll get us to a better place than where we are now.