Climate change has put the world in a deep crisis today; but stubborn optimism can make us bring in the change.
Today, the world faces a grave and seemingly impossible challenge – to overcome climate change and reduce carbon emission levels. For decades, we have continued to ruthlessly exploit and ruin nature. Carbon dioxide and other pollutants are being released into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. With the sea water level rising rapidly and floods and droughts becoming more and more frequent, there is a dire need to address these issues. Stubborn optimism, diligence and unity, hand-in-hand, will definitely help us actively work towards reaching our global goals for a better future.
Optimism, here, is simply not the belief that “all things will turn out well in the end”. It is having the courage to acknowledge our past mistakes, work harder than we ever have, in spite of the immense risk involved, and still believe that we have a chance at success. This is stubborn optimism that has driven mankind to achieve great things and persevere in times of distress. In the words of Christiana Figueres, one of the world’s greatest activists on climate change, it is ‘the mindset that is necessary to transform the reality we are given into the reality we want’.
A closer peek
Stubborn optimism gives us the energy and motivation to spring out of bed, ready to be productive. This is the spirit that sustains people through tough trials, quite unlike a blind faith and belief that problems will take care of themselves. It stems from the steadfast conviction that the only way to ensure a safe, thriving planet for our future generations is by starting work right away, moving relentlessly with grit and determination towards our goal. We need to believe that the smallest changes – like planting a sapling in our neighborhood or using reusable steel straws instead of the disposable plastic ones- will ultimately usher in great change; and partake in the action.
The crisis and our pledge
Today climate change is a burning issue with world leaders who have pledged to reach carbon neutrality within a few decades. But the path ahead is strewn with numerous barriers. This is where persistent optimism is most needed.
Reducing consumption of fossil fuels is the biggest challenge for humanity today. Of course, it is impossible to shut down coal and oil overnight without throwing society into chaos. But the reality is we are not doing enough to keep fossil fuels under the ground and use lower carbon alternatives. We can also cut subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and funnel them into renewable energy sources. We can peg a very high price on carbon emission, increase the price each year and take many more such steps. Innovation through technology can also be greatly leveraged to achieve our goals. Be it a new generation of nuclear power plant or a new battery, a conscious use of renewable energy can certainly help man achieve a zero carbon dioxide emission world.
Optimism, thus is a choice- choosing to believe in our own abilities; and refusing to back out in the face of challenge. The process of resolving the problem of climate change is long and complicated; but charged with ‘stubborn optimism’, we can make it possible. To conclude with the words of Christiana Figueres, “every barrier we face must be an indication to try a different way.” We need to keep working relentlessly, consistently believing that we can do al it takes to heal our planet.
About the authors
The article has been contributed by the following students from St. Josephs High School, Matigara, Darjeeling- Debaleena Singha and Meghna Ray