Following the Jewish tradition, my mum always relegated my siblings and me to deep clean duty on Friday afternoon.
Dishes, sweeping and mopping, vacuuming and picking up toys and clothes often boiled over into banter. The goal was to get everything ready for Sabbath.
The house was to be spotless and smelling of Fabuloso, not a rug or sock out of place.
Keeping the house clean was not just for the families sharing Sabbath lunch with my family. Taking care of the house wasn’t just because the house was rented.
Taking care of the house we lived in just made sense.
If taking care of a building makes sense, why isn’t taking care of our home planet common sense?
I remember hearing about how each year was the hottest year on record, or the wettest in many years, from the time I was young. Growing up in a religion that can be somewhat apocalyptic at times made it easy to make sense of the climate changing by quoting the book of Revelation.
“And the fourth angel poured out his bowl on the sun,” it reads, “and it was given to it to burn men with fire . . .”
Regardless of where you stand on Bible prophecies (or prophecies in general), there can be no question that our home planet is going through a fever of some sort.
No, you can’t cop out on this and side with the 2% of scientists that hold that the evidence is inconclusive. Science, unlike Grimm’s fairy tales, is true whether you believe in it or not.
Warmer than average winters allow bug pests in the Appalachian Mountains to reach forests they hadn’t before, affecting our forests and harvests. So long as there are trees, we reap their benefits. They clean up the air and provide oxygen. An ill forest means ill air.
Warming seas have killed off countless coral reefs and species of aquatic animals. The oceans, like the trees, also absorb a large amount of the carbon gasses we emit. The carbon reacts with the salt water creating carbonic acid. However, too much carbon in the air creates an excess of acid. Corals and creatures that use calcium carbonate as shells have had their exoskeletons weakened by the acid.
Kiribati, an island nation in the Pacific, has asked for help evacuating its population since rising seas are rendering their land uninhabitable. Just stop to think about it . . . an entire nation in danger of ceasing to exist because the ocean swallows it whole, like a real and slow-motion Atlantis happening under our noses.
Cooler than usual winters have allowed mosquitoes to survive winters further north, paving the way for blood borne diseases such as Zika to leave the tropics and journey north.
The war in Syria was sparked by the effect on agriculture in the region by climate change. People demanded aid from the government. The government denied the aid and became involved in violent clashes with protestors, which then started a revolution and a proxy war involving world superpowers and a bloody conflict involving an alphabet soup of entities.
This means that the biggest refugee crisis in Earth’s history and one of the hottest topics this election cycle are both a product of climate change.
The worst part is that a large part of the damage being done is irreparable, we are too late. Climate change will take its course and take down with it many things.
How, or even can we, do anything about it?
Let’s for a minute entertain this idea: Climate change is real and it is the key issue we face as humans.
Being pro-science or pro-religion doesn’t mean you have to be against the other, and coming to terms with this is important if we want to be productive members of a community with experts on both fields. There are a myriad ways of being pro-science or pro-religion without being anti-intellectual.
With that in mind, let’s talk about what is actually working.
Well, whom is working, more like. Sometimes we forget that the most important resource humans have is each other.
Community action groups are active around the country and around the nation bringing awareness. New, exciting technology makes it easier for us to use cleaner, more efficient fuels.
Why is this subject so important?
Let’s revisit our journey to this moment.
I am a millennial, and along with my children and grandchildren will inherit this home.
Taking care of my home cannot be a selfish endeavor. I must keep in mind I share this world—the only one we have—with my neighbor.
I must come to terms that there are problems and solutions that can only be reached if I collaborate with women.
I have to accept that climate change is a major push factor that has affected thousands and will affect thousand more, including those on our shores, and I must be ready to extend Xenia.
While there are things that cannot be changed, using the gifts, tools, education and resources at my disposal I can innovate and become part of the solution.
Finally, I must learn to accept that what is too late to save is lost. However, from that loss I must remember that this doesn’t have to be the end for all else that I love.
In fact, climate change activism must start with love.
Without love, I cannot care for the ecosystem that I do not see but sustains my livelihood. Without love, I cannot care for the well-being of my neighbor.
Have I shown my neighbors I love them? Maybe it’s time to start.
It seems to me we are all waiting for something, or someone. Whether we are waiting for God or Godot, we should clean house. Let’s take action against those who seek to profit off our losses. Let’s take action to clean our spills, waste and the air we breathe—let’s clean the house for each other, for the children that come after us.
We are stewards of our planet. In the name of love, let’s act like it.