I read a book in my contemporary lit class called The Cat’s Table, written by a guy named Michael Ondaatje. I wrote an in class essay on different book’s critique on power for my final exam Wednesday night.
. Here’s a quote that got me thinking:
“The thing is that men, with the kind of power that comes with money and knowledge, assume the universe. It allows them easy wisdom. Within such a universe there are codes, rooms you must not enter.”
Basically this quote is saying, dudes with power (presidents, politicians, super wealthy people) that are given money and the secrets to leading people and a country are stuck in a set way to do things. Do this, not that. Don’t say that, or believe that, or act like that. Whatever it is.
The recent climate summit in Peru collided with these thoughts. Agreements are flimsy and not that helpful for the climate because each country has their own priorities, agenda, path, and limitations. It makes sense on some level. It’s difficult to justify messing up the present because of some future projection.
Here’s another important quote from the book:
“What is interesting and important happens mostly in secret, in places where there is no power…Those who already have power continue to glide along the familiar rut they have made for themselves.”
As I was writing through awful hand cramps, I asked myself, well where does true power lie? In the individual. The individual is free of a rigid code. They can move about and strike more powerful change than someone who is given a cap on power.
A crazy lady in the novel, Miss Lasqueti, inspired both of these quotes. She appeared to be a spinster who threw romance novels into the ocean, but Miss Lasqueti ended up being the character the influenced the path of most events in the plot. No one thought she was capable.
Hmm. So this idea of the individual created another question. Do I know any individuals that are doing or saying or active in something related to the climate?
Yep. I have a crew of awesome people in Ann Arbor, Michigan: Fedy, Andrea, Chris, Noir, Jackie, and so many more. Most of them have some environmental related major or minor, but regardless, we all share similar ideas about the environment and have conversations about it all the time.
A group of them went to the March on Climate in New York City. My friend Jackie is an environmental education teacher in the foggy, ancient Redwood Forest. Fedy wants to live fully sustainably and learn how to farm sustainably. They believe in divestment from fossil fuels. Chris wants to learn about the policies and inner workings of environmental action.
Many friends work for Clean Water Action in Ann Arbor. And this blog is my platform; people come up to me on campus, send me messages, any communication and tell me they read my blog. My friends tell me how they used the climate change knowledge I share with them in a class or discussion.
This generation, the Millennials, the whatever-the-hell-you-want-to-call-us, hold the power. Plus, it’s important not to forget that we are the ones who will live with the consequences. We can influence more people and spread more awareness than someone who is already confined to a specific path, such as the people currently in power.
If we want this planet to sustain us, something needs to be done. I don’t know what that is, or what it entails, but we are the ones who can wander widely, in all directions, to do something about the pickle we’re in.