Becoming a Climate Warrior

aka be a little selfish and become a climate warrior already

By Jean Goto

Spring Tree in Harlem

Spring Tree in Harlem

Sherman Creek

Sherman Creek

Lake George

Lake George

Spring Central Park

Spring Central Park

Here’s what I want to say about climate change: If we can all get on the same page and start taking action, we’ll all feel a lot better about ourselves, the state of humankind, and hopefully the state of the planet. We don’t need to agree on what the best way forward is, we just need to start taking steps to eliminate our greenhouse gases.

Staring the Truth in the Face

I get it. The facts are very scary. We have 12 years to stop producing greenhouse gases or we’re all screwed?! Very intimidating. I also understand that climate change is very complex -- it’s not just our cars that are adding carbon to our atmosphere it’s also what we eat and what we buy? Is what’s causing climate change our electricity or our over-consumption or colonialistic mindset?

Hope

The bright side is there is already the technology out there to fight climate change, we just have to use it. If we can overcome this particular challenge, we will be so much better off -- not only because we will be living on a lush planet with amazing technology to make our lives unbelievably cool, but also because the things we need to do to fight climate change are also things we need to do to fight our general malaise.

Also: Climate Change is a Human Rights Issue

Fighting climate change is about fighting for human rights in many ways, but at its most basic, those most affected by climate change are poor people who have been taken advantage of by our unhealthy systems. Just look at the latest hurricane disaster and whose lives changed most drastically from it. So, if you need a little motivation and you’re not as concerned about the polar bears, at least consider the plight of your fellow human (which is really yourself because you are part of humankind, so just be a little selfish and become a climate warrior already).

How We Fight

Talking about climate change, making it a part of our natural discourse -- like the Black Lives Matter or Me Too movements -- is key. Because that means people will have to learn about global warming and then come to their own conclusions about what causes it and how they can personally fight it. Simply talking about climate change is an act of a climate warrior.

More Hope

Speaking from experience, for all the fear and depression and anger that comes with learning about what we’re doing to this planet, there is the joy and relief and love that come with fighting it once you start truly putting yourself out there.

Finally, if you are a concerned citizen who doesn’t know much about climate change, maybe read a book like On Fire by Naomi Klein or Drawdown by Paul Hawken, or watch a movie like Chasing Coral. If you’re someone who already has a cause they’re fighting for, maybe find a climate warrior and try to figure out how the two causes overlap. If you’re someone who already knows about climate change, but hasn’t taken the first step toward action, maybe volunteer with an organization like 350.org. And if you’re really stumped, contact me and I can try to help!

If you simply need a list of things you can do to easily fight climate change here you go: compost, divest from fossil fuel companies, invest in green companies, buy local, switch to a renewable energy source like Green Mountain energy, protest the pipelines, eat less meat (and no fish because most fishing practices are atrocious), support the politicians who are supporting climate policies, support organizations that are fighting climate change like 350.org/extinction rebellion, plant a tree, and TALK ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE.

 

Jean+Goto

Jean Goto is a native New Yorker, Hapa actress, director, and climate warrior. She graduated from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts, is a founding member of the theatre company The Anthropologists, and most recently won a Grand Jury Prize at the Queens World Film Festival where she screened her cli-fi short, AndLife. TV and film credits include The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Law and Order: SVU, and The Blacklist, Bruce!!!, Ghost Source Zero, and Here and Now.