Climate Summit Backwash

Photo credit: Matt Brown/Creative Commons

Photo credit: Matt Brown/Creative Commons

Think Globally

Here I am, bombarded with climate summit soundbites and images of disappearing coasts, and I can’t tell how much energy I’m using. When I follow the Paris updates, I can get a dispirited about what to do as an individual. Especially when I can’t tell how much I’m part of the problem.

Act Locally

But then . . . it’s winter and my studio heaters (3!) began to overload their wiring with circuit breakers a popping! I started listing the watts needed by each and I got stuck by one little heater that had no info on it at all.

Not a label to be found. If nutritionists have succeeded in telling me exactly how many grams of carbs, protein, and fat I eat at every meal, how come our electric devices aren’t making it easier to monitor our energy diets?

Take it Personally

Sometimes it seems too big a stretch to connect whales>warming oceans>burning fossil fuels> the temperature in my own art studio. As psychologists point out, we are unlikely to make personal changes unless we can connect the carbon emission limits being set in Paris to the way we each heat, eat, and drive in our daily lives. To do our individual parts in cooling the earth, it helps to bring it down to the personal by connecting the dots.

In my case, I ended up
 1) going online for the manuals to program my heat sources efficiently; this took about two weeks of finding serial numbers and resetting settings.
2) My handy husband made some baffles to redirect heat from another area my way (brilliant man!).
3)  I’m putting the unlabeled small heater out to pasture at the thrift store.

Back to Globally

As you get the news from Paris, listen for the hints that speak to you. It’s easy to dismiss those small nudges, the tiny ideas that catch your eye and ear. They may stick in your brain without any action by you now, but invite them in and be ready for events in your daily life to link up to them. Let these non-rational little “flirts” lead you to noticing how your personal life relates to the whole cycle of carbon emissions and thus to the warming oceans where the whales are swimming. Be ready for those moments when the dots connect.