We Can't Go It Alone
Updated: Feb 14
As I write, the fires in Australia are ravaging the country and its wildlife. News and photos from the fires show a glaring red sky, people escaping by boat, and graphic photos of koalas with faces and paws burned. It’s now reported that hundreds of millions of animals have perished. This will push some species to the brink of extinction. And just months ago, we saw similar images from the Amazon rainforest.
We are mourning for Australia. The agony is unimaginable. No longer a futuristic dystopian movie, the climate crisis is happening now and impacting flora, fauna, and humanity worldwide. As traumatizing as these images are, the world must see them.
The Australian firefighters, wildlife veterinarians, and everyday heroes demonstrate superhuman strength in fighting the greatest disaster they’ve ever experienced. Where do they find this strength? They are a unified tribe fighting to save their country and its wildlife.
There is great strength in our collective spirit and communities. Seth Godin’s Tribes (an essential read I go back to time and time again for inspiration) explores progressive leadership, amplifying how powerful a unified tribe is for making positive change: Tribes – We Need You To Lead Us by Seth Godin (book review by Evita Ochel of Evolving Beings).
As fires, floods, heat, and hurricanes intensify globally the danger of disillusionment looms, of beginning to doubt that our everyday choices matter. How much of a difference does it really make if I drive a hybrid, eat vegan, wash everything in cold water and religiously recycle if we’re already facing global catastrophe? We’ve seen this debate on social media, those that minimize individual action saying it’s pointless unless we stop the corporate capitalistic drive that pushes fossil fuels, industrial agriculture, and overconsumption.
Individual action does make a difference, and here’s why. For the small difference I make with my sustainable lifestyle choices, I belong to the larger environmental tribe worldwide who are committed to do the same. This momentum and energy is the force needed to mobilize the voices, volunteers, and voters that will change the trajectory in 2020.
If corporate money and power continue to dominate our political process, we will see decreasing regulations and a greater weakening of environmental protections with more delay on aggressive climate change action. We need progressive policy (as the Green New Deal) to stabilize and reverse climate change and cannot wait for goals projected-out decades from now. Progressive policy and action must start immediately, and the Sunrise Movement for a Green New Deal is working to make that happen.
We can’t go it alone. Our tribe sustains the validation, commitment, and energy that we need to keep going. But most critical our tribe brings hope, for when we give up we lose hope. And hope is the driver of change.