By Jenna Funkhouser
Confession: Until the last few years, I was entirely ignorant of the realities of climate change. I can’t remember ever learning about it in school, or talking about it at home or church. I had no idea that my seemingly insignificant decisions were exploiting the earth’s resources, contributing to global warming, and playing a part in the same natural disasters I saw on the news.
More recently, however, my husband and I have begun learning about the extensive scientific research that supports global warming–and the huge role the Western world (especially North America) plays in causing harm to the rest of the world. As a result, we’ve sold one of our two cars and made it our goal to ride our bikes and take public transportation as much as possible.
Fast forward to this morning. I admit that I woke up feeling lazy. I was just not motivated to walk/ride my bike on all the errands I had to run today. I sat on the couch for several moments with an internal battle in my mind. I could just drive my car, after all, no big deal. But there, in the back of my mind, was the realization that this was no longer about me. Choosing to drive wasn’t just the “lazy” decision, and choosing to bike wasn’t just the “healthy,” active option. Every time I wake up and make this choice, I am also affecting millions of people around the world, many of them much more vulnerable than I.
I can honestly say that this was the only reason I got on my bike this morning, and many other cold, rainy Pacific NW mornings unlike this one. It feels like I’m doing so little, but I know it’s the daily, seemingly insignificant decisions of millions of people which are all piling up and adding to this problem. Today, I realized how important it is to have the courage to keep telling stories–stories of people affected by changing weather, stories of how we can engage in climate justice, and stories of what could happen if we get this right. I’m thankful for organizations and people who are telling these stories, and reminding us that living justly often looks like those daily, small acts of going against the norm and choosing to stand for others.