Updated: May 16
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by Lauren Enright, Certificate in Mediation & Alternative Dispute Resolution, Psychoanalysis and Councelling
There is indeed a contagion right now, one very much felt and seen globally whether you are safe at home or are personally affected from the coronavirus. I am living in the Hudson River Valley in New York and have accepted the fact that Governor Cuomo is asking New York residents to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to leave the house. Residents in New York and across the world have broken this social distancing rule and will continue to do so. The behaviors we are born with continually evolve and are constantly shaped by the environment(s) we live in. Simultaneously, a behavioral contagion is occurring with climate change. This behavior contagion involves human influences and copycat behaviors where data becomes relevant when presented as evidence. Over the last 5 years, I have been lucky to grow a network of climate scientists within the United States. These scientists have worked diligently on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to prove to policy makers and government officials the satellite imagery over the last 30 years + has been changing and is therefore affecting monsoon patterns in India and glaciers in Alaska. Climate, weather, and coastal data are constantly collected to meet the needs of thousands of people though this data is helpless if not useless until human behavior directs it. Just as data before climate scientists is evident, the denial of climate change can be proven wrong with data! I have come to realize humans are in constant stages of grief -- not in a morbid way but in a very realistic way. These stages involve denial of one human’s effect on this planet, anger towards the injustices which eventually incite action, blaming individuals and corporations of greenhouse gases, the anticipation of the reality which I would deem depression, and the acknowledgement when we truly see and accept how our habits are can be altered. When we truly see sustainability and climate change for what it is, be able to grieve it, we might have a chance to change our habits towards it. What new approaches would I recommend for environmental sustainability? Look at the Three Pillars and follow your interests with a regenerative lense. Regeneration will be key to looking at how our habits can play a major role and reverse climate change. The 3 Pillars: Profit - Where is your money going? You are a consumer in this world. What products are you purchasing? Think about the supply chain within the purchases. Invest in corporations that are adhering to Environmental, Social, Governance (ESG) guidelines who provide eco-friendly options and investigate companies which are unethical, these companies will likely be changing their sustainability strategies in the next 3-5 years. Planet - Protecting what you can - where you can. Within London, I urge you to use public transport, study the groceries who are providing eco-friendly products and lean into a new lifestyle where plastics become obsolete (think water bottles, packaging, etc) as well as volunteering where your interests are (water, climate, animals and wildlife, trees and vegetation, marine animals and the ocean). Every thought and new idea will help! People - How can environmental sustainability and climate change bring a level playing field to the varying social and economic classes across the world? The poorest populations will be hit the hardest, including access to food and easy mobility to safe and sustainable housing. Research the locations of sustainable housing within London and study the architecture decisions including the materials it was made with, who is the housing for (wealthier or estate housing), what new features of the housing affect the way you view sustainability in your personal world?