Blog #5: Humble Pie

To all my fellow Halloween fans out there -- here's something truly bone-chilling. Late October temperatures in Santa Monica, are surpassing the brink of 100 degrees and breaking records for local fall temps. These sizzling days are coupled with an extreme variety of the region's famous Santa Ana winds, leaving California locals like myself feeling like the pumpkin-spiced season is merely a continuation of the fire-y days of summer.

This is not just happening in East Los Angeles. Not just San Bernadino. Not just Downtown LA. It's in Santa Monica: known for its cool ocean breezes and "June gloom" fog.

Yet, on October 24, students in Santa Monica schools were being sent home due to high heat conditions.

What does all this mean? It surely means "We're right! Climate change is real," especially given that this heat wave rides the heels of record-crushing Hurricanes Harvey and Irma and so much more around the globe).

So it's understandable that we--even ardent environmentalists--can become collectively overwhelmed by the realization that no matter what decisions we make today, climate change is already wreaking havoc on our world.

But I've always found it to be more productive to use moments such as these to drive us toward improved individual actions instead. A bucket-in-the-shower mentality.

What recipe am I recommending to provide relief during these times, you wonder? Perhaps a thirst quenching Agua Fresca or a delicious vegan banana froyo to go with those searing rays?

Nope. Amidst all of this heat and high-water, I recommend a bit of humble pie: best served for two.

Why two, you ask? Because if I learned anything from watching The Inconvenient Truth sequel, it's that our collective message hasn't been getting across these past ten years. We need an upgrade.

Rather than raising our voices with the rising temperatures, environmentalists need to serve up a slice of zero-waste, vegan, and positive-impact humble pie and start having real conversations with those who don't believe that their actions are controlling the climate.

Among most of my environmentalist friends, there is the sense that our individual recycling, vegan eating, public transporting, bulk-bin buying, farmers market frequenting habits can make the difference (or at least A difference). More than ever, we need to get the rest of the world (or at least those we know) to feel the same. And the only way to get people to put down their egos and listen to what we have to say is if we put our egos down too. It's not enough to feel that what we know about climate change is the unarguable truth; we need to recognize the flaws in our arguments and our communications and find common ground. Because at the end of the day, the earth is still warming, and we need all the help we can get.

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So, this #meatlessmonday I challenge you to not only do one thing for the planet (i.e. eat meatless, go reusable, #skipabag), but also, perhaps more importantly, have that uncomfortable conversation with your neighbor who can't understand the benefits of composting; your sister who drives a barely SMOG-ready pickup truck; your co-worker who still thinks that bottled water is purer than tap. Share a piece of humble pie, listen to his or her perspective, and hopefully through this gesture you can find a common ground. Because we need everyone to understand the reality of our shared predicament. And hopefully that understanding will incite real, transformative action. When more individuals choose sustainable habits, our own choices have a bigger impact.

Charlotte Will