Fifteen years ago I started wearing reading glasses. Nothing fancy. The $5 kind found in a hardware store or pharmacy. One pair sufficed to start, but now seven perch on familiar surfaces at home and work. A pair also rides in the car. Rose-colored glasses are my favorites, though, and I’ve worn them as far back as I can remember. I didn’t even know such glasses existed until a former flame in a heat of emotion told me to “Take off your rose-colored glasses!” “Huh? I’m not wearing glasses!” Ah, youth.
Rose-colored glasses are essential, particularly now. The Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change, CNA Military Advisory Board’s National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change, National Climate Assessment, and other governmental and scientific reports paint dire consequences for climate change inaction. Despite the consensus, reticence and skepticism within the United States continue, leading me to frantically fumble for my ruby-hued glasses often as the most vocal deniers and skeptics rail against anything hinting at climate change in nature, sowing distrust for science and government in the process.
We know the science is pure and that solutions exist. Some are easily implemented, others more complex. Without hope, however, we live in a world devoid of color. A world where fates are sealed and humanity stripped of its greatest miracle—namely, life. “Despair vanishes when there is truly something to hope for: a world for your child.” writes Alan Weisman in his new book, Countdown (Weisman, 2013, p. 1410). Weisman offers hope while describing a planet too small for its exploding human population. Hope springs eternal, and so it goes for facing the most significant challenge in human history. We can change the story. We can rewrite the script. But we will have to put on both our reading and rose-colored glasses. Reading glasses to understand and tackle climate change problems, and rose-colored ones to have the efficacy and hope to persevere.
Weisman, A. (2013). Countdown: Our last, best hope for a future on earth?. London: Little, Brown and Company.
Got five minutes to take action (see below)?
A 5-Minute Climate Change Mitigation Action Item for the Week: Shun plastic and styrofoam containers when eating out at your favorite restaurant. Instead, request that left overs be wrapped in aluminum foil or wax paper (We use wax paper bags in place of zip lock bags for lunch and snacks).