The documentary BEFORE THE FLOOD

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Thanks to an account on I follow on Instagram (hey zerowaste vegetarian!), I heard about a documentary called Before the Flood that was released by National Geographic last week and is currently on Youtube.  So being the ever-curious lady that I am, I asked the hubs if he wanted to watch it – so watch it we did.

The documentary follows Leonardo DiCaprio throughout his role as the United Nations’ Messenger of Peace.  I decided to take notes throughout – something I’m finding very useful as I get older.  Things that stuck out to me and that I wrote down:

How much of a stronghold fossil fuel companies have over government

Not just ours, but in other countries as well. It reminded me of how Monsanto does business.  Basically government officials are bribed by these large companies to lobby for them and keep the doors open for them to destroy our world do business.  You can actually look on the website Dirty Energy Money and see which U.S. politicians are accepting money from fossil fuel corporations in return for favors.

Florida’s flooding

In the state of Florida, they are experiencing such severe flooding from climate change that they are conducting a 400 million-dollar project (paid by taxes) to create electric pumps to pump the water back out, as well as raising their roads.  Now to me, this doesn’t seem to be very proactive.  Being proactive would be to accept the reality of climate change and work towards reversing it, not building things to try and stop something that’s just going to get worse in the future. On top of that, using the phrases climate change or global warming in Florida’s state Department of of Environmental Protection (DEP) is actually no longer allowed – seems a bit counterintuitive, don’t you think?

The catastrophies of the Palm Oil industry

I’m in the process of writing a separate entry about this one because there is so much I didn’t know about it!  I had heard that palm oil is bad, but I had never looked up why.  Basically, the majority of palm oil (a vegetable oil) is being sourced from rainforests (mainly in Indonesia) which in turn is destorying the rainforest and its habitats.  As I found out from the website Say no to Palm Oil, human rights are also violated because often it is children who are made to source it.

Other points or facts:

  • Lack of access to clean water and no food caused by climate change can (and already do) lead to civil conflict and war
  • Through the amount of pollution we create, the eco-systems that help us get rid of pollution can not keep up with us and are dying or we are killing them off (reefs, rainforests)
  • The countries who contribute the least to global warming are affected the most
  • Changing your diet by eating less meat, in particular beef, is one of the easiest changes you can make to help fight climate change
  • The company TESLA is harvesting sustainable energy in the form of batteries, in its goal to sustainably power the globe.  In fact only 100 of these batteries are needed to power the whole world!  
  • Enforcing a carbon tax would be the “silver bullet” for climate change.  People would consume less energy.

And finally,

Once the U.S. people are convinced that global warming is real and we need to do something about it, its leaders will be convinced.

A good leader, or even one who’s not so good, knows that it has to listen to its people, even if the goal is to just be liked or stay in office.  Same goes with companies.  They are in power by pleasing US, the people.  If enough people refuse to buy something they don’t like, the company won’t sell it.

Of course images, being able to see the devestating effects that global warming is having on our planet, is very powerful, and so I recommend you watch this documentary!  And let me know what you think.

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How my faith influences my environmental choices

 

It all started with me being depressed.

During these few years of pretty heavy depression, there were times when I just felt like I could not take it anymore.  I wanted out, I wanted things to change.

Now something you should know is that I was raised in the Christian faith, although I never really “took to it”, so to say, and I pretty much stopped going to church as soon as possible (so as soon as I took off for college).  I thought the Church and about 90% of the people who go were hypocritical.  This really got to me.  Especially when I saw fellow students who were acting all godly there but at school it was a different story.  As a high school student, I just couldn’t see past that.  But I still felt, deep down, that God was real.  That there was something more to all of this.

I just didn’t like Church.

Fast forward, me out of college and out into the real world, where things get tough. It is then that I experience depression and loneliness like never before.  During a couple of particularly tough episodes, I just had a feeling deep down, that I should reach out to God, and ask for help.  That maybe things would be better if I did.

But I didn’t.  I’m very stubborn.

So from here we can add in one more year of depression.  During yet another particularly hard day, I must have decided my stubbornness was not getting me anywhere, because this time, I cried out (in my mind, okay? Let’s not make it too cheesy) that I wanted help.

Yes, I asked for help.

And from there, things started changing.

Now there are lots of details I could include, but basically it comes down to this:

After asking for help, not just once but repeatedly over a period of about six months, I was led to a church in the city of France (where we were at the time).  It was not Catholic and totally not what I was used to, but it was just what I needed.  During the two years I was there, for the first time, I felt like I was really meeting God.  And I had what you could say a small awakening.  And I saw things around me differently  – people, the world, you name it – such amazing gifts in our daily lives that were all given to us (This is not to say that suddenly things are all sunny and there are flowers everywhere and there’s a guy bringing free bagels to my door everyday.  But yes, my outlook on life has since taken a dramatic turn).

Especially concerning the Earth and its beauty.  Such a glorious gift to us.  Yet here we are, making a complete crap hole out of it.  Fossil fuels, plastics, polluted oceans, Monsanto, the giant meat industry. And I found myself asking,Why?  Why would we knowingly do this? Why would we take for granted and destroy something so beautiful, something that’s better than we even deserve?  How does that reflect upon us, what does that say about our appreciation to something God has given to us?  I’m pretty sure being mean to one of the most beautiful gifts He’s given to us would not please Him.

Now, one could argue: well, I do my best to never litter and I’m pretty sure I make an effort on Earth Day, and I can’t help what I do in my daily choices because there is no other choice but to accept my vente Starbucks frappucino that’s given to me in a plastic cup.

Which is partly true. Sometimes.  Yep, I pretty much said those things.

But I think we’ve come to a point where we have to wake up and acknowledge our destructive practices.  Even if you don’t believe in climate change (which you should), the truth of the matter is that there are practices going on today that are not good for our planet, and they are hurting it (and ultimately us).

And they do not make God happy.

So what can we do?

Well, while I like to think big (take down the corporations spewing this crap on us!), I think the most practical answer (at least for now) is for people to take small, collective actions.  Such as:

  • Changing your diet and eating less (or no) meat.
  • Avoiding accepting or buying things that come in plastic or other wasteful materials
  • Buy in bulk when/where you can.
  • Buy local and/or fairtrade from both farmers (organic, if possible) and from artisans.
  • Write a letter to companies that do not make an effort to be environmentally-friendly, and tell them why you’re displeased with their products and suggest change.
  • Organize events, meetings, a group, that can raise awareness on the subject.
  • Really keep track of your trash – what can you do to make your weekly garbage smaller?
  • Do not fall prey to the media’s message of more is better and become just another consumer.  When you want something, think about why you want it and if it will really help you/make your life better.

And if enough people do these things, the companies will listen to us and be forced to change (if they want to survive).

Further reading that may be helpful:

And there are countless more articles, books, documentaries – but let these get you started!