Check out this map of my town. My house lies in the middle of it, just above that dark blue band indicates where the new tideline will be once seas have risen 55 inches, as they are expected to this century. Within the light blue area — the hundred-year flood line — is our local sewage treatment plant, at least 100 homes, and the entire community of Princeton, along the top edge of the map.
Over the years climate change talk has often seemed abstract and distant to me. Even as I do my bit to recycle and use less Stuff, somehow these choices still felt optional, as if I were doing a good deed for the future. But being Good can be tiresome, and what difference did it really make if I bought these pretty shoes or not, in the grand scheme of things?
The truth is it doesn’t make much difference, hardly any at all. The machine of global capitalism is vast and overwhelming, and my individual choices don’t matter more than a whisper in a storm.
But they matter to me. As I have begun researching sea level rise and learning about its causes — of course most are a result of human-caused global warming — this has all become much more personal. This will affect my home, my children, me.
And so it is time to get real about my personal carbon footprint and what impact my choices actually have.
My family is going on a Low Carbon Diet, starting now. Stay tuned for details!