Climate Change is Incredibly Difficult to Talk About, and That’s Why We Need the Conversations.

The hardest things to talk about are always the most important.

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Photo via Nasaclimatechange on Instagram

There are a whole lot of ugly realities out there.

The long list of issues facing not just ordinary Americans but the world at large seems to be ever growing, and it’s difficult to sit down and think about things like money in politics or crony capitalism without getting deeply discouraged. Of course, the most frustrating aspect of all of this is the knowledge that the issues most deserving of our attention and dialogue are the ones that are often the most depressing to consider. For me personally, nowhere is that proven more true than when it comes to climate change.

Even without really delving in to it, one of the few issues that simply makes me feel hopeless, empty, and defeated is climate change. It’s difficult to acknowledge the scope of the problem without being instantly overcome with a profound sense of loss, and the thought that we are past the point of no return inevitably seeps in to the back of my mind. After learning that Trump’s Secretary of the Interior just recently rolled back the regulations on the oil industry put in place after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, that all too familiar devastating feeling came over me once more.

I’m not sure what it is about this particular issue that gets to me above all others.

Maybe it’s the fact that it’s not us who will be dealing with the worst of it, but our children that we bring in to this world who will be the ones dealing with the full brunt of the consequences. Maybe it’s because our attention span as a nation is incredibly short, and we allow the ourselves to be distracted by anger, lies, and fears of the other until we end up ignoring the very real catastrophe brewing right in front of our eyes. Maybe because it’s not only going to destroy mankind if it goes unchecked, but an unthinkable number of other species that are already struggling to exist in the fragile climate we’ve created. It might be because there are few things that sum up all the universal flaws in human nature better than what we have done and continue to do to our climate.

Regardless of whatever it is about climate change in particular, I will readily acknowledge that in spite of how difficult it is for me, there are few things more deserving of our immediate attention.

As hard as it might be to read an article about yet another environmental disaster, we have to read it. As hard as it may be for us to see those images of a child that’s starving due to a drought or a polar bear that’s skin and bones clinging to the last piece of ice around it, we can’t ignore them. We cannot combat an issue of gigantic magnitude like climate change if we don’t acknowledge the worst of its effects.

If history has taught us anything, it’s that there are few things more dangerous than willful blindness. None of the great threats facing past generations were solved by suppressing them to the backs of minds because they were too painful to think about, or seemed too difficult to overcome. While it’s natural at times to think ‘what’s the point?’, we cannot allow the significance of what’s at stake to turn us into cynics that bow our heads and accept that there is nothing we can do. We simply cannot afford to pass the threat of climate change down to yet another young generation, and leave them with the environmental, geopolitical, and fiscal costs of our inaction.

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Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

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