The Countdown: a series

Eva Shen, Editor in Chief

Caring is the hardest part.

Which is ironic, given the outstanding consequences of the alternative.

When I think about the things I care about most—or that trigger the most guilt—I think about the tangled role I play in an ecosystem unbalanced by human beings.

I blanch at using the words climate change, because even the concept seems to trigger an automatic shut-down—we blank out, tune out, turn away. Did you stop reading just now? Maybe you’re brushing past this paragraph, certain you’re about to hear the same old tidbits: sea levels are rising at double last century’s rate; sea ice is shrinking and has never been smaller; the last seven years were the hottest in recorded history—yes, climate change is real.

Climate change is urgent and demands our attention. It is also worn-out, overwhelming, and old news. It’s a nasty combination, playing up our fears and tamping them down with neglect. 

Climate change is global, which means it is also local.

What I want to explore is this: how do we, as San Ramonians, fit into the scheme of things? What affects us and what do we affect? How do we get up and start moving? How do we not sit still

Caring is different from feeling haunted by guilt or worry. It is easy to feel care, but it is the hardest thing in the world to do things about it. How do we get ourselves to really care? And then others? And then the government?

This series is called The Countdown, partly because of a pun that I’m saving for a later installment (which I really shouldn’t be this excited for), but mostly because we’re reaching an ecological tipping point, and that ubiquitous phrase— “we’re running out of time”— is sadly true.

My hope is that this series will be part investigation, part manual: an investigation into the things we need to care about, and a manual for how to care.