A Green Resolution

Appearing in The Marietta Times:

January 9, 2020 Letter-to-Editor by Aaron Dunbar

Among the most egregious lies we’ve been told about climate change, is the idea that as citizens we’re powerless to do anything about it.

I consider 2019 to be the year that I became a climate activist. I began the year feeling that there was nothing I could do, that the problem was too enormous, and that someone else would fix it for us. But as environmental crises mounted and warnings from scientists rang in on a routine basis, I decided that apathy was no longer an option.

And so I did something. And then I did more. And soon I found myself taking action in ways I’d never believed myself capable of doing before.

At first I started small. I took easy steps throughout my day-to-day life, such as ending my use of plastic straws in favor of reusable metal ones, eliminating single-use plastic bags from my life altogether, and greatly reducing my intake of meat. I began educating myself through countless books on global warming. I wrote letters to share what I’d learned, and eventually participated in the Global Climate Strike in September.

My most ambitious project, by far, was to deliver a collection of 100 books on climate change to the office of Congressman Bill Johnson at Christmastime. Johnson has long denied the reality of climate change, perhaps in part due to the fact that he’s received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the fossil fuel industry over the years. I don’t expect him to experience his own Damascene moment any time soon- after all, that isn’t what he’s being paid to do.

Still though, it was important to me to be able say I’d confronted my Representative in Congress with all the evidence he could possibly ask for to make an informed decision. And if you’d told me at the beginning of last year that I’d be undertaking such a project at all, I wouldn’t have believed you.

I am by no means satisfied with the actions I took in 2019. I consider them in no way sufficient to bring about the change necessary to combat this crisis, and I have every intention of redoubling my efforts in the year to come. From getting involved with local groups such as Mid-Ohio Valley Climate Action and the Sunrise Movement, to campaigning for political candidates who pledge to take action on global warming, I plan on pushing myself harder than ever before over the course of 2020 and beyond. The fight against climate change is one we cannot afford to lose, and time is running out.

I know there are people out there who are far more capable than I am of joining us in this fight, and helping us win. So why aren’t you?

In the timeless words of Anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”