Now it's time for everyone's favourite self-analyzing activist game: "What's Emily's Role in Environmentalism?"
Sometimes, when I go to your average environmental meeting run by your average environmental group filled with planning and passion, I get this sense of nausea. I don't know why. After all, here's a group of people that care about precisely what I care about.
Could my discomfort be because I like bold and hilarious action, while these folks prefer planning and pacing? We need both types of people, don't we?
Could it be because I'm suddenly overwhelmed by the groups' emotion, and the predicament humanity is in?
Something I've been recently learning is that often the most straightforward answer is the correct one. Especially when it comes to decisions based on emotions opposed to facts.
For example, yesterday I got my wisdom teeth taken out. I was feeling pretty darn good and thought that I could handle going to an improv class today. But when I woke up this morning though and felt like I just been punched in the face, I wasn't so sure.
A simple voice inside of me said: "Just stay home."
While another, more complex voice build up on all sorts of nuanced adult insecurities said: "You can handle improv. You might regret not going. There's, like, $239 down the drain!"
Luckily, I had the courage and awareness to listen to the first voice and stay home. I feel a little bored and frustrated having nothing to do but roll around with my emotions all day, but it's better than being overwhelmed by going to a class I'm not mentally or physically prepared for.
I'm proposing that the correct answer to our most profound emotional queries is the one most similar to the innate drive for hunger, or thirst, or sleep.
It's not like we have a voice inside ourselves that goes: "Oh man. If you don't eat right now, you're totally going to regret it. Everyone else is eating, why aren't you?"
"You should drink some water. Who cares if you don't feel like it now, drinking water is good for you. That magazine said so. If you don't drink water, you're totally gonna be behind on the water drinking train and wonder why you didn't get on board for the rest of your days."
"Wow. You suck at sleep. Didn't you read about that sleep Olympian who sleeps 9 hours every night, from 10pm-7am, exactly? They're being nominated for the sleep Nobel prize. That could be you, you really need to get on top of that and produce the best sleep of your life."
No. We just go: "I'm hungry. I'm thirsty. I'm tired."
So when it comes to my qualms about specific venues of environmental activism, I shouldn't over analyze or doubt my reaction. Keep it simple.
"I don't like that." "This group is draining." "I'd prefer to work on my own."
There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with me. That's just what I've been gifted with and how I was made.
I'm working on a documentary right now about the British Properties in West Vancouver, and when I'm researching it, I'm overcome by a sense of calm and purpose.
The ancient Greeks believed that creativity was inspired by The Muses. The Muses would come to an artist and strike them with an idea. The artist can use it, or not, but you don't get to choose your muse.
I feel the same way with how I create writing, plays, and art. I don't get to choose. The pressure I put on myself to make something "great" kills any creative spirit I've got. I've just got to be there. My heart and mind wide open. Sometimes something will come to me like this documentary. When I'm working on it, it feels like God is reaching through my eyes and arms and making something through me. It's a neat feeling. It takes the pressure off.
Instead of trying to build a sculpture from scratch painstakingly, It feels like I'm picking away at a rock to reveal a jewel underneath.
"Oh. I get it now."
"This is such a perfect metaphor!"
"Wow. This really speaks to me."
That's why it feels spiritual. Like God has to lead me to a spot on the land, and I just need to keep digging until a geyser pops out. It was already there, the spiritual forces/muses/God just needed a human to bring it out.
I think this is a good thing to keep in mind when I go to Vargas island later this May. I was recruited to get a remote field station off of Tofino and create art. What kind of art- I'm not sure. It's up to me. I've been worried about it, trying to think of something that will be "good" or "right," but I end up with the same nauseous feeling I get with some environmental groups. Like I'm trying to force it. Maybe I don't need to go into it with any specific plan. I can trust I'm just there for a reason. Go into it with heart and arms wide open, and see what strikes me.
Anyways, here are the photos from the last two weeks:
“The reason we care is just for this: the future generations. It’s terrible: the drought, fire, lack of food. I’d like to see a strong reduction in emissions.”
Fact: According to the Pembina Institute, Canada’s average total emissions was only one megaton a year for the last five years. At this pace, we won’t achieve the Paris Agreement target for 2030 until 2209. We’re headed in the right direction, just at the at the wrong rate.*
"Why do I care? Well, I guess I don't want us to die in 50 years. This is an issue that doesn't have too much funding, but Canada is doing alright I guess.
Fact: CAT, Climate Action Tracker, is an independent research body which ranks countries based their progress towards keeping the world's warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius. Canada’s current rating is: “Highly insufficient.”*