The ‘Monster’ problem
Global warming feels like a monster without a head. A monster with a life of its own. A monster so big that it can never be grasped in its totality. My Cartesian mind does not like it. It wants a clearly defined problem with some definite answers. Instead, it finds opinions, arguments, and a myriad of answers to even the simplest questions. There are literally hundreds of environmental organizations, each with their own version of the “Inconvenient Truth”. In the blogosphere, I found more than four thousand blogs under the environmental blogs category. There are the heroes like No Impact Man, the business bloggers looking to clean tech as the next gold rush, the scientists spilling out their truths, the green mommies exchanging their latest green tips, the political activists lobbying for their favorite candidate, . . . the list is endless. And then there are all the folks in the middle, the Green Wannabes like me, trying to make sense of that cacophony.
I need a reassuring parent
My heart is equally disconcerted. Mention the word ‘global warming’, and all these feelings bubble up. First, there is fear. Whenever I try to pin down the fear, it resists all my attempts. My fear is as big as the monster, and as elusive. Like jello, it slips away, and the more I try to get a hold of it, the messier it gets. Never far away from fear, is the feeling of being overwhelmed, and powerless. I feel so little. And the word global feels so big, and so not something that a single person can wrestle with. I am brought back to the times when my parents looked like giants and I could not say much. I also don’t like chaos, and unpredictability. Someone’s got to come, Al maybe, who can take charge, take care of the monster problem. I want a leader I can trust, who can reassure me that things will be ok. I want an action plan. I want to be told, this is what is going to be done, and this is what you need to do. And it is all going to work out. No ifs, no buts. Clear laws. Like speed limits, or the no smoking law. Right now, I do not feel anybody is in charge. Nobody is.
Shrinking the monster down to small steps
I hold all these thoughts, and these feelings, and I remember what I learned to say as a therapist, to patients in recovery. “When you are feeling overwhelmed, do not try to do everything at once. You can’t. Instead think small steps. Think about the one thing you can do today, and do it”. What is the one thing I can do today? Besides writing this post. I need to think hard, as there are so many options. The temptation to think large is a trap I need to avoid. The monster is big, I feel I want to grasp as much as possible at once. When that fails, I end up doing nothing. I have been meaning to get involved in the local ‘Vote for Al Gore’ campaign. Maybe now is the time to be more aggressive about it, and to email Chris, the local leader, one more time.