All That Changes with the Climate

I cannot stop contemplating the end of the world: How will it arrive? Will anything follow after? What will it spare? Or, what plagues me most: if the extinction of the human race is inevitable, does anything truly matter?

I’ve become a pessimist. When the subject of climate change appears on the news, or when a natural disaster occurs—such as a wildfire, tsunami, or earthquake—I react with a petrified apathy. It’s only a matter of time, I think, here is the beginning of the end. When the yearly reports arrive, documenting the above-average temperatures, I sink into depressive spells. Culminated, everything ingrains within me a fear of nature, of weather.

Recently, I’ve busied myself over readings, scientific theories. I’ve altered regular habits of mine to become more eco-friendly. I obsessively explain to people: Humans have committed horrible iniquities against nearly everything, all that remains is Earth. If we do not change, then nothing will; and, if we do change our ways, is there even hope? Have we run out of time?

History leans toward progress, is what I convince myself. We must uproot the means of production, must challenge those in power, those greedy men who only care about money and themselves. We must revise the current free market system—no, that isn’t enough. Rather, we must analyze capitalism as a whole, confront its effects, and remove and replace it. If those in poverty are not enough to persuade people to believe this, then look around. Notice the changing weather patterns, the dark clouds, the overly rainy mornings, the oceans, the ice caps. Our obsession with wealth has propelled the Earth into a near apocalypse.

I’ve always consumed books at a furious rate; I did so believing that, among the texts, I’d discover some truth about the world, about myself. Nowadays, I realize I read because I need to—it stimulates me, pumps the blood in my veins. I cogitate my passions—reading, writing, studying—and compare it to the gloomy future. They say one writes in order for something to survive you. Yet, with all I have and will publish, will something survive me just to die? What does literature, academia matter when all traces of life will eventually be wiped out? Why do I then continue to, comprehending all this, study? Who is Simone de Beauvoir, who is Karl Marx, who is Toni Morrison—or, moreover, who is Kyle Labe—if each and every name will soon reach the same conclusion of oblivion?

Again, perhaps I am simply a pessimist.

photo by Christopher Michel 

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