#1: Is your carbon footprint BS?
Ikigai, Perfectionism, Smallness
This is my first post and it feels clumsy to write on substack. Everything feels new and unfamiliar.
But I gotta break past the resistance and just do it. My intention for this newsletter is clear: every issue, I will break down a podcast/other climate related media and riff on it, through the lens of both activism and mental health.
Poetry, essayettes, gratitude journaling, song and dance — it all might bubble up here.
In this inaugural newsletter I discuss the podcast: Is you carbon footprint BS?
Give it a listen if you feel inspired. The general theme of the episode is how useful is individual action on climate change?
Here are my take-aways:
The podcast says that you should find you climate ikigai (they don’t use this term, but that’s the general idea). I don’t care to be paid for environmental work, but I like the idea of finding something I like, am good at, and that the world needs. For me, that’s writing this newsletter.
What’s your environmental ikigai?
I just recorded myself reading a poem I wrote called The diaper at Vernooy Kill, on the theme of eco-perfectionism and self-compassion.
It’s really easy for me to feel guilty about being a bad environmentalist (e.g. not picking up trash, not composting, throwing away plastic, driving, flying…the list goes on).
Most people are like me: biophilic and busy. And often, busy wins out. In our current civilization, simply meeting my needs for money, food, shelter and transportation creates a stream of waste.
The best response to this is not beating myself up for being a bad environmentalist, but rather designing systems where biophilic and busy don’t have to be at odds with each other.
I will explore environmental solutions in further issues of this newsletter.
Awareness of my own smallness is liberating for me. I wrote this little poem on the theme of smallness after listening to the podcast:
16 tons of CO2 (that's what I will produce this year)
Divided by 50 Billion tons (that's what the world will make)
A decimal point
Then nine zeros
Then a 3
So if I killed myself today
That's the fraction
Of humanity’s CO2
I would reduce per year
Or if I
Had no children
Took no planes or cars
Used no electricity
And lived off the land completely
This would be the savings too
(And a bonus: I wouldn't have to die)
But the world's 7 billion people
(especially the poorest)
Aren't moving to eco-communes
So we need to find
When I think about
And a 3
I see that I'm
A drop in the bucket
I take off the lenses
Of personal responsibility
And I think about