Don’t give up, dear friend
I hope it’s okay that I’m writing you out of the blue like this.
I must admit that our last conversation still lays heavy in my stomach. It caused me sleepless nights. I still remember how we sat together on the meadow. Some friends around us, a small buffet of salads set up near us. It was one of the first lovely spring days. The sun was gently shining down on us, and the weather would have been almost too warm for me if it weren’t for the fresh yet gentle wind that came through my jacket on my skin.
I don’t remember how, but unexpectantly we were talking about mosquitoes. How annoying they were. But that they are at least not dangerous, that they do not transmit diseases. And suddenly, we were talking about climate change. Malaria pathogens are transmitted by a specific species of mosquito, which cannot yet survive in Europe. But due to climate change, they might be able to at some point.
And what you said then is the reason why I am writing you. I remember how you said, “And regardless, in 40 years, if not much earlier, the world will have ended anyway. Or at least, humanity will have come to an end.”
Don’t get me wrong, old friend, these thoughts, this dramatically bad news, are not new to me. On the contrary; after all, I have been dealing with the subject for a long time. And these dark predictions challenged me again and again. But usually, these dark statements are followed by a call to fight, or a suggestion, or a piece of advice on how we can still turn the ship around.
But as we sat there together on the meadow, I couldn’t see any fighting spirit. Instead, you just pulled on your cigarette, looked up at the bright blue sky, and declared humanity irredeemable. You accepted the fight as lost. You gave up.
I still remember how a dim feeling spread in my stomach. You and the others went on talking about the impending apocalypse; it almost seemed as if you were trying to outdo each other in your pessimism. I was glad when we finally changed the subject.
But the uneasy feeling in my stomach remained. At first, I thought I was depressed. I’ve had this kind of feeling many times. It’s easy to feel sad and resigned when you look at the current unfolding of the climate crisis. But this time, it was different; this feeling was new. And then I understood: I wasn’t sad, I was angry. And I still am. I am angry at you.
And, my good friend, maybe I’m not entirely fair to you right now. The anger I feel is not just directed at you. It is directed at anyone who understands the unfathomable and disastrous consequences of the climate crisis; but, still, instead of doing something, just gives up.
I have often been upset by people who live in denial. But at least these people are not acting intentionally. Sometimes they don’t have enough information; occasionally, psychological barriers prevent the grim message from getting through to their consciousness. But you, you know the extent of the crisis. And instead of doing something, you put down your weapons, sit down and just watch. You give up.
And my friend, that hurts. It hurts to see that you don’t care. That you have so little faith in humanity. I never understood why it’s cool to not care. Why the cool bad boy from high school never cared. Doesn’t he want a future worth living? Don’t you want one? So why do you give up even though the fight hasn’t been lost?
I can’t shake the feeling that it’s all just a lame excuse. It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to watch passively. It’s all the more exhausting to fight for something. To change yourself and your behavior.
And not only that plays into your hands. With climate change as an excuse, you no longer have to plan your life, no longer have to act responsibly. You no longer have to look ahead. Old-age provision? Won’t affect me anyway. Stop smoking? Climate change will get me sooner than cancer. Planning my future? Ha! What future? It’s easy to live in the moment when there is nothing to prepare for.
But it’s also selfish. I’m glad you’re doing so well with this non-existent future. Others don’t. I don’t. It just hurts. Some people are suffering the consequences now. They need your help. Because we need every single voice in order to defeat this fight. Because – and this is important for me to emphasize – it still can be defeated.
So please, my dear friend. Think about your attitude. How you affect others. What influence you have on the world. I hope I did not offend you with these words. I was just not able to let my feelings go unnoticed. Because in you we lose a too great fighter.
And not only that we lose your strength; I wish you again a passion for humanity, a little more optimism and hope. Because as simple and easy as your life seems to be right now, it looks pretty depressing too. Don’t you want to have children? Don’t you want to grow old and tell people about your boring but beautiful life? A life without a future is not something you should settle for.
So, let’s fight for this future; it is not too late.
With all love,