Broken Down Duty



Mickey: “Did you see “Before the Flood”? What did you think about it?”

Isa: “I loved it. I love that Leo DiCaprio is using his money and puts it where his mouth is. Maybe his involvement as a Messenger of Peace for the United Nations will help raise more awareness.”

Mickey: “That’s the thing. I am afraid only the people who already believe that Climate Change is real are going to take notice. I don’t see Climate Change deniers going on You Tube and searching for the documentary.”

Isa: “You are right. It’s incredible how divisive this issue is. I mean, the evidence is out there. The receding glaciers, the rising ocean waters, the dying off of coral reefs, the increase in extreme weather patterns, untenable CO2 and methane emissions into the atmosphere because people like eating beef and don’t want to change their habits. There are so many telltale signs, but no, let’s continue business as usual.”

Mickey: “I am glad that I am living in a country that is a front runner in switching over to sustainable energy. Sweden is The first country in the world to be entirely fossil-fuel free. That’s a huge accomplishment. And it took citizens taking to the street and demanding the government to honor climate change reality and set the country on a path to sustainability. Anyone thinking that ordinary citizens are without voice should remember the 60s movements.”

Isa: “Yeah, they are the best example that a critical mass can tip the scales; that a tipping point can be reached to strong arm politicians into changing policy. Thing is, Climate Change reality is not new. There exist public service announcements from five decades back indicating that our consumption of fossil fuel and our emission levels were starting to wreak havoc on the ecosystem.”

Mickey: “Look, even today people continue to smoke despite there being a direct link to disease. Even with a tax increase and all the PR that urges people to stop smoking, people smoke. Addiction is powerful and willful blindness is powerful too. People don’t want to know. I get so mad when I see people arguing for their shitty habits, for their right to continue polluting.”

Isa: “The environment is not a fringe issue. Governments have declared Climate Change to be a national security issue, and they are damn right about it. What will happen with dwindling natural resources? We have an exploding population laying claim to finite sources that are rapidly declining. Our future wars are going to be about water. I see water as the new gold. I sometimes picture myself while showering not being able to shower more than once a week and having to severely ration my fresh water intake. I don’t know if it’s going to happen during my lifetime, but there are already riots breaking out in countries like Bolivia, where the fresh water source from the mountain snow is running dangerously low.”

Mickey: “I can’t handle when people whitewash this whole issue and even worse, ridicule it. Where is our civic responsibility in this? At what point do we feel personally responsible about how we as individuals are contributing to the rise of global temperatures. And ironically enough, food choice starts taking a front and center position. Did you watch the documentary “Cowspiracy”?”

Isa: “Ah, that’s another Leonardo DiCaprio produced docu film. Yes, I saw it and I was shocked to learn to what important degree agribusiness and the raising of factory cattle contribute to the warming of the atmosphere. The worst part was that all of this is being hushed over. I remember the main guy documenting all this faced all these hurdles trying to get to the information. These multi nationals are using every tool in their arsenal to keep the public from knowing what they’re up to.”

Mickey: “Yes, I remember too how no one wanted to go on the record to talk about the disastrous consequences of dumping copious amounts of methane into our atmosphere. Even climate organizations were not including agribusiness as a culprit of global warming in their PR campaigns. It’s like the worst kept secret and it continues on in front of our eyes. We are knowingly doing this to ourselves and everyone around us.”

Isa: “That’s what’s so monumentally unfair. Here the United States is being called the worst polluter in the world, having perpetrated the most ill when it comes to emissions, and now they are asking poor third world nations to contribute in their efforts to stem the tide, when these nations are and have been at the mercy of the greed and conspicuous consumption of the west. It’s so unfair. They are the victims and now the victims are urged to pay along and do what must be done to save their nations. I totally understand when nations around the world are reluctant to agree to a Climate Change deal, when the US is not making a solid commitment.”

Mickey: “Even the Climate Change conference in Paris fell way short on what’s needed to turn the dial back or at least keep it in place. Yes, the two biggest economic players in the world shook hands and signed their commitment to emission reduction, but still, there are no punishments in place in case they fall short of their promise.”

Isa: “No matter how much a human being wants to do the right thing. We are often better for it when we have certain guidelines, a certain reward system attached to what we pledge to change or add to our lives. Thing is, Climate Change is not equally real for everyone. For the island nation of the Maldives, Climate Change is literally on their shores. The President is pleading with the international community to take heed and help this nation from extinction. Other island nations are purchasing land elsewhere in the event that they cannot secure their cities, their property from rising sea water.”

Mickey: “We live a life of such widespread comfort in the West that we are oblivious to the plights of so many of our earthlings out there. We are divorced from so many problems we cannot even conceive of because we are so occupied with our puny little daily lives. I don’t mean to put down the average person’s quotidian struggle for survival, but overall, in the west, we have the luxury to take a look at our choices and to come up with better ones, more sustainable ones.”

Isa: “Remember the documentary “I Am” by Tom Shadyak? He talked about how all this accumulation of material wealth is but an outcrop, a symptom of a more systemic disease, and the root of it all is this idea of more. We always need more. More is available and we translate it into needing more, when in fact we need way less than we think. But if we don’t put this into practice, manufacturers, corporations, marketing gurus have us believe that we absolutely need these new gadgets or we would lose status, recognition, reputation without it.”

Mickey: “We live in a society that discards instead of mends. We don’t try to maximize the utility and lifespan so to speak of the goods we acquire. Any little flaw, and we dispose of it and get the newest upgrade. I don’t want to see where all this garbage is being stored. I mean, aren’t these landfills full by now? And what of plastic which does not decompose? It’s incredible that this material has been thriving on the market for such a long time. Where were the Elon Musks when we most needed them 30 or more years ago? Why is it that humanity tends to wait until the 25th hour?”

Isa: “Climate Change is insidious in its own way. If you are part of Big Business, your economic livelihood depends on the machine continuing to churn. If you are removed from the daily operations of extracting fossil fuels, let’s say, then you don’t feel the urgency to exercise social responsibility. It’s sort of a nebulous subject. It’s not that we don’t want to do the right thing, but oftentimes, we are ill informed or lazy to obtain the information that best corroborates reality out there.”

Mickey: “I read a very illuminating and sobering book by Naomi Klein called “Capitalism Versus the Climate” and if you allow all the evidence to sink in, it becomes a very deflating status quo we are in. Even though most books dealing with the Climate Change question offer solutions and give a cautious but still hopeful prognostic, it seems that unless the entire world citizenry bands together, we are in dire straits and not likely to get out of what we wrought.”

Isa: “Change is possible. We’ve seen it most recently with the Marriage Equality Act. Our president started out his term being against gay marriage and in 2012 he reversed his position on the issue. People on the streets have power. We need to be more active, is the bottom line. At home, privately, and publicly as well. We need to exercise our right of Civil Disobedience. We need to wake up from our semi-self-induced slumber. It’s time to get our hands dirty and grow food, people, untainted, real organic food and save the soil from complete nutrient depletion.”

Mickey: “How is a revolution won? How do we change people’s minds? One step at a time, one person at a time. Leading by example, right? That’s what I remind myself off when I feel judgmental and angry at people’s choices. I am not here to judge others but to do my best. I hope that more of us will have the determination and the perseverance to embark on a new, sustainable path.”

Isa: “You go, Mickey. You inspire me. It’s awesome to speak with you and to have a sounding board that mirrors my concerns and my efforts to be better. I hope that we can reverse the trend. I really do. In the meantime, it’s about our own evolution. Singular consciousness to impact collective consciousness. It’s all about the ripple effect. Each thought, word, and deed is creative. Energy in motion.”

Mickey: “I picked “Conversations with God” back up and it’s really grounding me and reminding me what I need to be doing. I sometimes get sidetracked by what others do and say or don’t do or say and how I fare in relationship to them. But the book reminds me that I only need to worry how I stand today in relation to myself . It’s a self-reflexive relationship.”

Isa: “I think we all prefer to defer to others for what we should be doing. It’s easier to follow than to be master of your own mind. It can get dicey because many times there are no easy answers. That’s the thing, nothing is clean cut. We have to make decisions with partial knowledge and plenty of risks. I don’t think I’d like to be in the skin of our world leaders. To have to make choices that could impact, for the worse, the entire planet.”

Mickey: “Maybe Leo DiCaprio is going to tip the scale and get more people onboard. It’s the celebs that can foster change because they lead such public lives. If they invest their money to do good and to diminish their carbon footprint, that would encourage others. Or maybe not. Maybe the common folks would say that he has the luxury to do it but they don’t, struggling day to day.”

Isa: “This is an endless topic, Climate Change, because it encompasses so much. It radiates out and affects so many areas of life. It’s not an isolated issue by far. I really, really hope that if Hillary wins the election she will listen to politicians like Bernie. Our Climate Change policy has to broaden and tighten. Our government has to lead the way. “

Mickey: “Tomorrow, we’ll know. I don’t think Americans will ultimately vote in someone as divisive as Trump.”

Isa: “May the odds be ever in favor of communal thought.”