Can we ever just have some fun?
Yes!! And actually we MUST have fun from time to time. It's psychology - our brains are hardwired to help us avoid long-term pain and suffering and to instead seek pleasure and enjoyment. If we want to stay in the fight against climate change, we have to figure out how to enjoy doing it.
Unfortunately, many climate events are depressing. It's the nature of the topic. Those of us who stare down the impacts of climate change on a daily basis know that we are facing a grim future if massive collective action is not taken very soon. But most people are not staring down climate change on a daily basis - and these are the people we need to help take action.
At the Geos Institute we are about to host our second "Rogue Valley Climate Bash." (www.roguevalleyclimatebash.org) With a Valentine's theme of "Love Your Climate!" and a live band, this event does triple duty inspiring people to take action on climate, connecting them with local efforts that need help, and letting all of us blow off a some steam and have a little fun.
Self-care isn't just about taking care of our bodies and minds. It's about our spirits too, and few things will lift the spirits like seeing a room full of neighbors and friends excited to learn how they can do their part to head off the climate crisis. Now that the impacts of climate change are becoming obvious across the country, more and more people are understanding that we need to take aggressive action quickly on both adaptation and mitigation.
By hosting fun events that inspire people in your community to take action, you can educate your neighbors and elected officials and help build the momentum for the change that is needed at local, state, and national levels. In hosting events like this, we've learned a few things that may be helpful:
- No graphs. Really. Each time you are inclined to show a graph, tell a story about how climate change is impacting real people and nature.
- Inspire participants with art, music, children, and fun activities.
- Aim education efforts at being truthful about the crisis, but also hopeful about our prospects if we take action immediately.
- Show people the path to what they can do to help.
We'll see you on the dance floor!