An Agreement

Earlier this week, President Obama and China announced their pledge to reduce and put a cap on emissions.

Many people (including myself) are pretty pumped about this. It’s a big deal that the US and China are recognizing and acting on climate change, especially since the two countries are responsible for 45% of greenhouse gas emissions.

They are two powerful countries that don’t always get along or agree, but they put aside their differences. It sends a positive message to the rest of the world–lunchroom enemies can share a cookie.

Not only does it send a message to the globe as a whole, but it also sends a message to every individual, whether they agree about climate change or not.

But, I think it’s safe to say, change sucks. Things are going to change for us all if we put a cap on CO2 emissions, but things are going to change a whole lot more if we don’t respond to that change. The Earth will no longer be the one we know. We won’t be able to live here without struggle. Internal conflicts will rise as resources dwindle, hordes of humans could die from surges in vector-born diseases, populations will flood inland on the tides of the rising ocean as the ice sheets overflow into those steel gray waters.

We, the Millennials, will be the ones dealing with those unfortunate consequences. “It’s not our problem; it’s the next generation”—we are that generation.

Personally, I’m proud of Obama and Jinping’s promise because addressing climate change is not easy. Whatever happens in the future, since no one can truly know, it’s not going to be easy. It’s not going to be easy to talk openly about our future path as an entire species. It’s not going to be easy to transition the world’s societies to alternative fuels.

Even though this agreement is a powerful step, there’s some booby-traps and gigantic walls to scale.

First booby-trap: the US and China did not get their gold stars in emission reduction. Politicians throw around promises to reduce emissions, but then they end up emitting even more.

Second booby-trap: the media tries to be fair and show each side of a debate, but this fairness is screwing with the climate change debate because there really is only one side if you look purely at science.

When 97% of scientists collectively agree, it’s absolutely nuts. The nature of science isn’t to drink the Kool-Aid and agree with everything–beyond a shadow of a doubt, scientists need the data to support something before they agree with a claim.

As the booby traps show, an agreement isn’t a promise.

What’s up with the Pickle?

When I sat down to make The Climate Pickle, I wrestled back and forth for days and days about a name that made sense for my blog. I nearly drove myself to insanity. I scattered different words across a page in my notebook that described climate change. Chaos, disorder, calamity, crisis, craziness. But the one that seemed to nip it in the bud was clusterfuck. 

Clusterfuck. I love saying it. Not to mention it describes the changing climate quite well: “A disastrously mishandled situation.” I’m certainly not saying all hope is lost, but humans have collectively placed ourselves in a situation that seems rightly described as fucked. We need to de-clusterfuck it or at least know how clusterfucked it is.

My peers, my friends, my classmates, any one around my age (22) are the audience for The Pickle. I asked all my friends if they liked the name climate clusterfuck, and they laughed, nodding their head’s, yep. Though, I had to consider that the eyes and ears of Millennials are not the only ones who will see this blog. The word clusterfuck punches a little too harshly, and I had to think of something that softened the blow of the climate situation.

My mind wandered to a year ago when my friend creaked with each step up the stairs that opened to my room. He plopped on my white carpet and folded over onto a colorful stack of pillows. I raised my eyebrows, tilting my head inquisitively. He heaved a deep sigh and said, “Liv, I’m in a serious pickle.” Whenever I hear that phrase, a little giggle escapes. I was definitely not laughing at his personal situation, which was rather serious, involving a cop, a friend, and various other things that I will keep to myself. But the phrase has a way of breaking tension surrounding something, like heaving a rock onto a frozen pond to see the water move underneath.

A pickle is defined as “a difficult situation.” Climate change has no easy answer, and it is truly the messiest situation humans have gotten ourselves into. The best way I find to approach a challenging, seemingly hopeless and overwhelming situation is to first breathe; then it’s like tossing a rock onto the frozen surface of a lake to get a better look under the surface and what’s really going on.

So here’s to being aware of our climate pickle-clusterfucked situation.

These words are not from your professors, parents, grandparents, or other adult figures. This is me, Olivia, talking to you, Generation Y.

Beginnings

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As the spring semester of my junior year came to a close, I was craving adventure, new experiences. But my options felt limited. I didn’t want to live at home for the summer before my senior year of college, and I didn’t want to stay in the small town Albion, Michigan where I go to school at Albion College.

In order to stay sane amongst the cornfields of Albion and endless stacks of homework, I escape to Ann Arbor, Michigan where I have a large and intertwining group of friends. But when I lived there and called that city my home for the summer, it was a different experience than just passing through it.

I struck up a deal with my mom where she would help me with living expenses if I kept up with writing and researching my passion– environmental writing, specifically climate change.

She’s awesome, needless to say.

During the summer, my ears were tuned for anything related to climate change. I would often hear my friends say stuff like “Man, this weather has been weird.”; “Duude! The polar vortex is back, in summer.“; “Did you hear about that east coast hurricane?”; “This thunderstorm is freaking me out.”

I think many of those questions and statements were rhetorical, internal thoughts slipping out, word vomit. But I started chatting at them about how their thoughts were actually rooted in something important–climate change. All the sudden, climate change became something personal to them.

The climate is in a pretty sticky situation, or rather, we are in a sticky situation because the climate is changing.

And to make matters more complicated, news, social media, and academics are throwing all sorts of different information about climate change around, creating a racket that is impossible to think over, let alone form your own opinions.

The Climate Pickle is not about saving the earth; it will be fine. Instead, this blog is about and for the human.To breathe life into the cold hard facts of climate science so that they walk around in your imagination, speak to you, and appear in your own life.

We, the young twenty-somethings, college-aged peeps, Millennia’s or whatever, know what it’s like to be human, to feel, to breathe. We might not all be on the same life-path, but we do have something in common.

Our parents and grandparents have passed to us a legacy, and said, “eh, climate change isn’t our problem. There is plenty of time. We’ll pass it onto the next generation. We’re busy, okay?”

We are all so wrapped up in our own lives, trying to survive school and work, balancing sleep and social lives, and planning our futures that we put the climate pickle low on our list of things to do.

The Climate Pickle is a place where you can jump right into that gooey mess like a pool of honey and roll around in it, to get a feel for the current climate chaos.

It’s the Millennia’s hub of information on the sticky situation of the climate pickle.