It took me most of this month to pick myself up off the ground and keep going. Finally, a post.
This is not another election recap. This is not a post about what went wrong, where we went wrong, how we did wrong. There are already plenty of posts about that, and they do a far better job of analyzing the situation than I ever could.
But like many people, I’m horrified and scared. I’m worried about anyone who’s not a straight white man. I’m worried about the possibility of losing my health insurance (before the ACA was passed, I had a lot of trouble obtaining coverage thanks to a resolved childhood medical condition). I’m worried about my LGBTQ friends. I’m worried about undocumented immigrants and their kids. I’m very, very worried about the environment… or rather, worried about humanity’s ability to adapt to an environment that’s changing at a breakneck pace. The Earth is going to stick around for another few billion years. The real question is whether a rapidly-growing population, dependent on ever more limited natural resources, will be able to tolerate these new environmental conditions. These concerns are based on reams of data-based evidence, and yet many of our “new hires” in the federal government refuse to believe or acknowledge it.
After the election, I vowed to take action every day to fight against the negativity and hatred that the election revealed. For the most part, these actions are going to be rather small: calling members of congress, making a small donation to a nonprofit, signing and sharing petitions, volunteering in my community, etc. For example, today I wrote a few brief emails to the Government Accountability Office about the president elect’s conflicts of interest; it took me all of three minutes. The point is to do something, however small, that contributes to the greater good. If every person took a small action or two every day, that could yield powerful results.
In other news, I continue to work at REI. It’s been the perfect place to weather the current storm because a) it keeps me busy, b) I’m surrounded by smart, hardworking people who love being active and getting outside, and c) stress levels are pretty low, which is something I need that right now. It also keeps me focused on issues that I am particularly concerned about, such as environmental degradation, NoDAPL, materialism, and, again, climate change. Working at this store, surrounded by people who love the Earth and love being in nature, has been a good reminder that although our government has the power to make life-altering decisions, we as consumers also have an abundance of power. Every day, we vote with our dollars and our choices. We are not powerless.
So if you’re reading this, take action today in some way. Do something that will benefit someone else either directly or indirectly. Then do something for the planet. Again, that action doesn’t need to be huge: bring your own reusable mug when you buy a cup of coffee, pick up litter along the way if you’re on a run or a hike, purchase the article of clothing that was made in a more sustainable way and that’s going to last longer, make a meatless meal.
Daily actions + long-term commitment = significant results. That’s my mantra now.