People have always called me an optimist. To be honest, I don’t think of myself as that optimistic. I do spend my fair share of time thinking about American politics after all! When it comes down to it, I truly do not think that believing in people to do the right thing is either optimistic or pessimistic. It is simply the reality we live with everyday. We see family and friends offering a shoulder to cry on, neighbors looking out for each other in a storm, and young people putting their bodies on the line to protect a livable future for all. This is on top of a historical record full of examples of what Martin Luther King Jr. so famously called “the moral arc of the universe… [bending] toward justice.” No matter whether you agree with me or not, though, I still get grouped as a starry-eyed, naïve, optimist.
So, you may be surprised to learn that my climate tune to recommend this week is called “I Blame the World” and features the refrain “I’m a glass half-empty kinda girl.”
The song is by Sasha Alex Sloan, an up and coming singer-songwriter known for her honest and emotional lyrics (what? You say you sense a theme among my music choices?), asking a series of rhetorical questions that highlight the futility of life. Examples include everything from “Why paint my nails if they chip off?” to “Why try to find mysеlf if I know I’ll end up gettin’ lost?”
After each series of questions, she launches into a chorus that struck me as being potentially relatable to many who care about the climate crisis.
“Can’t see the good in all the bad
Can’t make me happy when I’m sad
I blame the world”
This week, it’s been tough to see the good. Ingrid wrote about the “hot mess” described in Monday’s IPCC report. Basically, things are bad… worse than we thought actually… and we have the tools to fix it, but governments, companies, and people have failed to act.
Then, Scientists Rebellion engaged in civil disobedience around the world, and they were met with… mainly silence. Climate scientist Peter Kalmus wrote an incredible op-ed about his experience, but also expands on the media silence in his Twitter thread.
The mainstream media barely covered climate scientists getting arrested all over the world in a desperate bid to save the Earth, it is actually even worse than Don't Look Up— Peter Kalmus (@ClimateHuman) April 8, 2022
While we’re on the topic of media coverage, it is important to note that the IPCC reports didn’t get much either. Climate journalism powerhouse Amy Westervelt explains more on that here.
After all this? I wouldn’t blame anyone for jamming out to Sasha Alex Sloan. I sure am. In fact, if you “can’t see the good in all the bad,” I think that probably justu means you’re paying attention. The climate crisis is here. It’s an emergency! We need to act now! It is an exclamation point kind of issue!
It feels important for our sanity to allow ourselves to uuwallow every once in a while and prove to ourselves that we’re not crazy. So, I really do encourage you to give the song a play.
But when you do — I would caution you against drawing the same conclusions as Sasha Alex Sloan. Many people are rightfully concerned right now, and they blame the world.
There is really no need to be blaming the whole world. We can reserve our ire for a very specific group… the fossil fuel lobby! They are who are preventing us all from saving ourselves, future generations, and the very planet we live on. And when we stop blaming the whole world, the problem actually starts to feel a lot more manageable. Knowing who to blame is a huge step in reclaiming your agency and engaging. Once you’ve gotten that far, youu can take any number of very concrete actions to counteract the power of the fossil fuel lobby by heading to our Climate Action Explorer.
Things are really, really, really bad. But they can get better. That’s not being optimistic; that’s just listening to the latest report from the foremost group of climate scientists ever convened.
So say it with me — “I blame the fossil fuel lobby!”