In the discussions about our planet’s impending crisis, it’s disheartening to witness an abundance of complaints without tangible calls to action. Amidst the clamor, it seems that many are content to echo Chicken Little’s panic without emulating the bird’s ability to rally friends.
Leadership involves recognizing a problem and having the initiative to address it. Unfortunately, what resonates through various platforms, and Medium has its own flavor, is a disheartening chorus of lamentation — endless refrains of “Woe is us, COP has failed.” It is better written than I can pull off, but that’s like being an expert at writing your obituary yourself, and about as useful or gratifying.
Have we collectively decided that our only course of action is to await the voluntary dissolution of Big Oil through the COP mechanism? Have we resigned ourselves to a fate of merely blogging about the impending catastrophe, conveniently diverting attention to discussions of ‘coping’ as a coping tool itself?
Your bank account and the planet would love it if we stopped buying a few products to let companies know we haven’t seen enough progress fast enough.
Younger generations, from Gen Z onward, could rightfully hold preceding generations accountable. ‘You knew better and did nothing.’ A planet burdened by the consequences of past negligence, a home tarnished by lip service to climate change while environmental degradation persisted. And all we do is blog and bitch about COP.
Let’s revisit the timeless folktale of “Chicken Little.” In its essence, it tells of a little chicken, distressed after an acorn falls on its head, believing the sky is falling. What sets Chicken Little apart is the downstream action; the character(s) take charge, but, the tale’s true moral lies in the perils of panic, gullibility, and the importance of critical thinking.
So, how do we address the ecological climate problem? Instead of merely complaining about COP conferences or reading manic, uninspiring blog posts, it’s time to channel our frustrations into meaningful action. Let’s convene individuals to compile a list of actionable items rather than wallowing in a sea of complaints.
It’s bewildering that meaningful boycotts have not become a prominent strategy. The most notable effort so far has been led by Grute Thrundleberg, whose name I’ve misspelled, because we need our solution more than she needs improved SEO.
Boycotting has historically proven effective; consider how mothers spearheaded changes in tuna harvesting methods by refusing to support environmentally harmful practices. The power of collective consumer action, when fashionable and driven by a united cause, can prompt significant shifts in corporate behavior. And just like the Mom on the Wheat Thins commercials, companies, products, and processes should be addressed ‘one after another’.
Why do we continue to place all our hopes in the COP basket? Every individual action, no matter how small, contributes to a healthier future for our children and grandchildren. Waiting for a collective resolution is a luxury we can’t afford. This is something we need everyone focused on every time they make a purchase or a decision on where and when money is spent.
For those unsure of where to sign up or how to contribute, collaborative groups provide an entry point. Whether you’re a follower, a potential leader, or the person who brings the metaphorical cookies, your involvement matters.
Our parents and grandparents went to tried to fight a war boycotting and protesting to save whales, end the draft, end racism, and a few other things. Boycotts were a successful part of those strategies. We may not know how to do it well anymore, but we need to learn to fight for our planet in ways that work.
Consider initiating a boycott against companies that neglect to disclose emission outputs on consumer packaging. This empowers consumers, particularly mothers, to make informed decisions about supporting businesses that align with environmental responsibility. A positive feedback loop that as it grows awareness, billions of people could actively participate in fostering positive change.
Reflecting on the Chicken Little story, we extract several crucial lessons for our shopping list:
Critical Thinking: Guard against hasty judgments and think critically about the true causes of environmental issues. Avoid the allure of supporting carbon offsets or brands of any kind without questioning their efficacy.
Leadership and Responsibility: Acknowledge the role of responsible leadership and informed decision-making. Recognize people like each of us must take responsibility and lead however we can to bring about meaningful change.
Beware of Deception: Don’t fall victim to misinformation or support initiatives that hinder positive progress. Be cautious of the marketing and advertising power that may divert attention from genuine environmental efforts. Be mindful of the things you buy and where they come from.
Unity in Crisis: While initial unity is commendable, it must be accompanied by critical thinking and effective leadership. To be truly effective, we need a collaborative framework and a plan.
Recall the story of kids in Montana and Europe who sued based on climate concerns. Their actions made headlines, but it’s time to move beyond symbolic, novel gestures. If your blogs aren’t evoking life-changing emotion and inciting action like the Pied Piper, then it’s time to do something else. If nothing else be a conduit to telling people like me what others are doing so we can all get involved, or rat out companies not doing the right thing.
Let’s take action. Point me in the direction of an organization where we can sign up — whether as Henny Penny, Ducky Lucky, Goosey Loosey, or Turkey Lurkey — provided we agree to do something that truly matters collectively.
I wrote a very short early reader for kids that talks about this. The price is set as low as Amazon will allow because I want as many kids as possible to pick it up and harass their parents and teachers about the garbage they are buying. And while it seems difficult to figure out the emissions rating for a product, it really isn’t in the scheme of things and we need to get emissions and environmental information onto consumer packaging.