In a previous newsletter, I wrote about how doing enough amid a climate emergency feels like doing things differently.
And I don’t mean doing more, I mean doing things differently.
By the measure that matters most – global annual carbon emissions – the sum total of everything we’ve ever done as a collective society to address the climate emergency hasn’t worked. In 2019, the world emitted more carbon dioxide than in any other year in human history. Not only are we not solving this crisis, we’re still making it worse faster than ever before. We haven’t even started to stop yet.
As a global society, and as individuals, we need to do something very different.
I don’t know who needs to hear this, but it’s OK to slow down. Slowing down is exactly what it looks like to be doing the right thing amid a climate emergency. Slowing down your thoughts and movements is a radical departure from business as usual. Slowing down is something that you, the person reading this newsletter, can do unilaterally to embody the transformative change that needs to happen throughout society at a breakneck pace. Slowing down is the fastest thing we can do to create rapid change.
The end-of-year holidays are a perfect time to test this out in your own life. The long nights around the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere is a natural time to slow down and re-evaluate our path forward as individuals and as a collective.
Here is what that looks like, at least for me:
- Thinking ahead, pausing to contemplate instead of reacting
- Asking for help, not trying to do everything yourself
- Surrounding yourself with friends and family, being brave enough to offer time and space to acquaintances
- Care work, spending time with children, the elderly, and those systematically excluded by society
- Slow travel, noticing the places we pass through and using low-carbon transportation
- More time in nature, pausing to notice the beauty of what we’re trying to save
- More conversation, talking to other real-life people, and listening to other perspectives
If you have a moment, I’d love to hear your ideas for how to slow down. I know it’s a privilege and it’s not always possible. I also know I always need encouragement to remember how worth it it is.
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This is my last newsletter before the new decade. In the meantime, take some time for yourself to slow down, log off, and re-imagine what the world could be like if we all did things differently.