Hi world! I logged into TheModernTreehugger the other day and noticed that a surprisingly high number of people have been visiting my site lately, despite the fact that I haven’t written anything here for a hot minute (*cough* almost a year…) and I feel like I owe an explanation.
Part of me blames my workload with school while I work towards my Master’s degree, part of me blames my lack of spare time due to volunteer and work contracts. What I DO know is that the longer I went without writing anything, the harder it got. Sitting down now for the last hour or so staring at a blank screen makes me realize that maybe I’m just not sure what message I’m trying to get across anymore. Do I still identify as a treehugger? I certainly care about doing what I can to protect the earth more deeply than ever before, but maybe my perspective has changed a bit. I feel like the grassroots optimism I enjoyed a couple years ago has been seeping out of me, which can probably be partly attributed to the blob of a person Donald Trump (or as I call him… the Orange Lord of the Underworld). It can also be partly attributed to the fact that I’ve learned a LOT in the last year or so about the scale of what we’re really facing in terms of climate change and how complicated the solutions really are.
I was once hopeful that sharing ‘tips and tricks to green your workplace’ may lead to some kind of outward ripple sufficient for change, but really… the political events that have taken place in Canada and the US over the last couple years have really made me adjust my focus. Trudeau campaigned on a promise of ‘change’ and vowed to start hedging Canada away from our reliance on fossil fuels. Today we face expansion of the Alberta tar sands and pipelines being shoved down our throats; investments in infrastructure ensuring that Canada’s future be as heavily polluting as our past. Even British Columbia’s environmentally promising NDP government is cheerleading Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects reminiscent of the Christy Clark era. If you’re not from Canada or don’t know what I’m talking about…basically from an environmentalist standpoint, it’s a pile of shite with a healthy serving of hypocrisy.
So anyway, where does that leave me? I’m currently spending my time at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia thinking and learning about energy systems from experts who are trying to unpack how to go about transitioning to a cleaner world. Specifically, I am focusing my time and efforts on the transportation sector and taking a hard look at policy options that may get us to where we need to be in terms of our climate goals in Canada. Focusing my energy on policy and systemic change has been exciting and energizing, and is slowly renewing my faith that perhaps there IS still time to turn this ship around IF we as a society act on climate quickly and strategically.
I feel like I’m finally in a good place to be more present on my website now and to share what I think are exciting (and sometimes frightening) ideas about where we as a society and as a species can go from here. You probably won’t see many more ‘tips and tricks’ from me as my narrative of change has been creeping away from personal action, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped living by my morals or no longer believe in the power of 'starting at home'. I still don’t eat beef, I recycle everything and still work with environmental organizations that mobilize communities to do what they can to contribute to a greener future. Maybe it’s just that my idea of a ‘treehugger’ has developed, as I continue to develop as an academic and as a human being.
Image courtesy of my insanely talented friend Alex, whose photos you NEED in your life... check him out here