Upworthy is hosting a twitter chat tomorrow, September 15 at 11 am ET. Their question is how will climate change affect your life? Which makes me ask, how has climate change already affected my life?
As I have posted before, you can’t say a single weather event is directly caused by climate change so I’m going to stay away from how changing water levels affect my paddling seasons, how changing snow conditions affect my ski seasons, and how changing weather norms affect my jacket closet.
I want to discuss instead, the troubling relationship between being an outdoors person and feeling guilty about travel that is not directly related to meeting my needs. I live within a few hours of the rocky mountains, how do I not go there to ski in the winter and take photos and hike all year? But am I causing irreparable harm to the nature I covet by making these trips? Am I not, at the same time contributing to my mental health by experiencing these natural places? And supporting my professional and personal dedication to changing our relationship with nature?
I live in a city which has the largest stretch of urban parkland in North America. It has been a pilot city for the ICLEI project Local Municipalities for Biodiversity. It has had a greenhouse gas strategy since the early 90s and is a world leader in waste management that is currently aiming for a 90% diversion rate, something that is doable within current and planned initiatives. So on the upside I can spend a lot of time enjoying nature in my own city, in places I can easily get to on my bike. But that doesn’t stop me from making a few trips a year to the mountains. Should I feel guilty about these trips? Or should I feel proud of all that happens in my city and the many ways I contribute?