How can we maintain focus on sustainability during the pandemic?
How should we focus our efforts back on climate change and sustainability when nobody has enough emotional energy for anything at the moment? It feels hard to have those conversations when so many of us have lost our jobs and health, but it’s still an important issue that has to be addressed.
At the risk of looking like this meme, I’ll try my best to answer this in as succinct a way as possible. In my opinion, we’re not focusing our efforts back on climate change, so much as we’re focusing on climate change and the pandemic, simultaneously.
There is a huge link between climate change, COVID-19, and the plethora of other issues that have reared their heads in this time. By the looks of it, COVID-19 is here to stay for the foreseeable future, with more pandemics down the proverbial pipeline if we don’t start talking about (and taking action towards) climate change. Scientists warn that “swift climate and environmental change” will bring viruses that once survived in the depths of nature much closer to human contact.
So to answer your question, I think there’s no better time to talk about these issues than right now. We’re in a historical moment of upheaval. We’re (hopefully) about to witness some real, systemic change in this country (and world) and it’s long overdue.
As for how to start the conversation exactly, let’s start with a little education! This conversation is a huge one, one that I’m not fully equipped to lead, so I’ll share some of my favorite resources:
Read Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard C-CHANGE (Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment): Coronavirus, Climate Change, and the Environment
Follow @intersectionalenvironmentalist. Started by Leah Thomas (read her work on TGT here), the Intersectional Environmentalist group “[is] a platform for resources, information and action steps to support intersectional environmentalism and dismantle systems of oppression in the environmental movement, led by environmental activists and sustainability advocates.”
Subscribe to ”Heated”: a podcast and newsletter by climate journalist Emily Atkin
Read ”Shit You Should Care About”: Though not solely related to the climate crisis and COVID-19, it’s a great resource for current happenings all around the world. (It has an Instagram and podcast, too!)
If the conversation feels overwhelming, that’s because it is! But we must remember that change doesn’t happen overnight, and we’re in a marathon movement, not a sprint. We posted a quote on Instagram a few weeks ago that I love to revisit: “Showing up imperfectly is better than not showing up at all.” Wherever you are in your journey of focusing on and fighting against the climate crisis, whether in direct relation to COVID-19 or not, be proud you’re on the path 💛.
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Alyssa Julian is the Social Media Lead at The Good Trade. She’s LA born and raised, and when she’s not scrolling her phone for the latest trends, she can be found at the farmers’ market, camping out of the back of her Subaru, or searching for adoptable dogs on Petfinder. If she’s not off-grid for the weekend, try looking for her at her home studio, where she’s probably making cups for a new coffee shop. Say hi on Instagram! 👋