When the seas can no longer support life, when the last forests have been clear-cut for timber and agricultural interests, when climate change becomes an undeniable catastrophe and nature a ravaged monstrosity we shun, remember that this was your choice. You chose it in the smallest of ways countless times. It was a choice you made with every plastic bottle of water you purchased. It was made every time you said “plastic’s fine”, “I need a bigger car”, “I want a big family”, “I’m building a new home in the country”, or “I’ll take a bacon cheeseburger”. It didn’t just happen and you weren’t powerless to make a difference. You matter, but you chose to listen to those who told you you didn’t.
But just as your bad choices can doom the planet, so can even your smallest choices and actions help to save it. Every time you have a choice to make, you have the opportunity to choose a revolutionary one, regardless of its individual impact. For each positive action you take, you will show to yourself and others that change is possible, desirable, and not so very difficult. Each refusal to accept the status quo will make the next choice not quite so difficult. Soon you will realize you are not living in fear. Soon you will realize you do not have to subject your will and your hopes and dreams to some greater authority, but are in fact an agent of change capable of helping to make the world the way you want it to be. You will not be a slave but a free man. For God’s sake, you might even find yourself feeling joyful.
You can find yourself not merely rushing through life but actively connected to each moment. You will experience the feeling that you are where you are meant to be, living the life you were meant to live, rather than feeling you have to accept the lot handed out to you by a cruel and ugly world. You won’t have to foster idiotic and immature fantasies of what your life might be because you will experience happiness as a real, mature, human being. You might even catch yourself thinking something like “Holy fuck, life is beautiful. I never thought it could be like this. This is what I’ve been working for my whole life, and it had nothing to do with a big house and an expensive car and a fake-titted wife.” You might find that happiness is not something the outside world rewards you with if you sacrifice yourself to it but instead something you feel when you get in touch with your real desires and motivations.
You have the opportunity to choose joy over desperation, hope over resignation, improvement over hopelessness and resignation. Because you are not only powerful but good. Because you want both what is good for you and good for everyone else. All you have to do is believe that a better world is possible, just like a junkie can begin to see that his addiction doesn’t have to rule him.
Just remember, the only argument you have against what I am saying is “I’m powerless, there’s nothing I can do.” It is the argument the addict makes again and again. It is what leads him to rock bottom. We are all there now. We have reached the point where there is nowhere to go but up. Let us, like the addict who seeks to turn his life around, no longer lie about the reality of the situation. Let us make the first steps back towards life in the only way possible, in faith that there is a better tomorrow out there for us. And once you do so, once you take that first step, you will realize that it isn’t about the destination at all but the joy you will experience walking the path. You will feel happy, you will feel empowered, and you will wonder why you have not taken this path long ago.
The choice, and the power, is yours.