Self-Care in the Pre-Apocalypse
How to avoid panicking about the earth’s environmental demise
By: Sammi DiVito
The current decline and soon-to-be death of planet earth is enough to make even the most optimistic of environmentalists want to scream and run. And how can it not? The world that has been generously housing the human race for centuries is on the cusp of an apocalypse, one characterized by environmental degradation, a stratosphere choked by emissions, and plastic pollution in our dwindling forests and waterways. People have, over the winding course of humanity, bitten the hand that has been feeding them.
It doesn’t help that the majority of today’s population have had the misfortune of being born right into the midst of anthropogenic climate change, unable to do much about the world’s previous blunders (like allowing atmospheric carbon dioxide to do nothing but sky-rocket to its highest levels yet following theIndustrial Revolution). While many are still compelled to put a halt to the current decline, the task of wanting to right the environmental wrongs is a daunting one. It’s hard to remain calm when faced with the formidable burden of fixing the planet for future generations; the earth is about 197 million square miles in size and weighs 6.6 sextillion tons, and one person can only do so much. Pair that with a slew of politicians that enjoy denying the existence of global warming, and people are more than likely to be waking up in a cold sweat, having nightmares about the final reckoning. But fear not, despite all the doomsday business, there are ways to smile in the face of future demise.
In order for a person to take care of their mental health in the pre-apocalypse panic, it’s important to remember all the sustainable steps that are currently being taken to combat the earth’s decay: things like conservation, research, and collaboration. There are organizations and people all across the world who have chosen to take on the plight of environmental reform for everybody, such as Engineers for a Sustainable World, The Climate Mobilization, Global Water Policy Project, and countless others. Groups such as these spend their days building awareness about the earth’s environmental state as well as working on projects that will hopefully mend the planet. Environmental stewardship jobs are on the rise as well within the workforce, as colleges nationwide are educating the next generation of environmental scientists. These young hopefuls will be able to monitor and protect what the common man can’t, armed with the knowledge to preserve what we have left of our earth. All this goes to show that people aren’t just sitting idle everywhere—many are jumping at the call to action.
It might also help to know who the real enemy is. Where should people direct their panic and their frustration towards? Although earth’s sickly state can be linked back to any number of causes, it’s important to remember that roughly 50% of all pollution is caused by industrial and manufacturing activities. That is no small feat, especially when considering the sheer volume that’s all stemming from one clearly identifiable source. People have to not be afraid to hold these organizations accountable. The world is different now, this isn’t the 1900s anymore— people no longer feel comfortable buying from companies that dump their waste in the rivers. But there’s more the public can do to combat the carbon footprint of manufacturing activities. People can send letters, rally, and speak to their local government. They can make it known that they see what it is happening and that they won’t stand for it. The world can push for more regulations to be put into place to limit what these organizations can produce pollution-wise. Self-care, in this case, should be mean trying to cut off the problem right at the source.
And while one person alone won’t be able to stop the ice caps from melting and the polar bears from going extinct, there are small things a person can do every day to make an impact and feel less overwhelmed by dread in the process. These can be simple, like picking up trash spotted while on a walk or turning off the lights when nobody is home. Vote for politicians that prioritize environmental sustainability. Over the course of a lifetime, these seemingly insignificant habits could end up creating some change as well as provide peace of mind. No effort should be considered too small when considering the monumental task humanity now has to bear.
At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that if the planet does end up dying and turning into an inhospitable, barren landscape despite all these aforementioned efforts, this will most likely not happen for years and years. It’s good to be alarmed by the state things are in, but panicking can’t reverse what’s been done. In the meantime, the most a person can do is grin and bear it. Remain as calm as one can when faced with an impending environmental apocalypse. And don’t forget to recycle.