‘Everything is not going to be okay’: How to live with constant reminders that the Earth is in trouble

What does it mean to be alive right now? Right now. Right this second, right this epoch, as mankind alters the Earth beyond recognition.

In Arizona, in the summer, the pinyon pines don’t smell like they used to, says Nikki Cooley, and the wind sometimes feels in error, like it’s blowing the wrong way, at the wrong time of year. She knows these are feelings, not data, but she is measuring them nonetheless.

Cooley, 39, grew up without running water or electricity on Diné Nation land, herding her grandmother’s sheep and sleeping in corn fields. She became one of the first members of her family to get a master’s degree, in forestry, and now she has her dream job, co-managing a tribes and climate change program in Arizona, acting as an emissary between her ancestral world and the modern one that upended it.

“If you talk to elders, who are some of the most revered people in our tribal communities,” Cooley says, “they’re like, ‘We told you so, we have been saying this.’ ”

Scientists, too, have been saying this. Data, not feelings: A United Nations panel reported in October that we have around 12 years to act if we want to keep the Quite Horrible from becoming Truly Terrible. A report this month says that Antarctic glaciers are melting faster than we thought. Also this month, environmental dangers occupied the top three spots on a survey of the biggest global risks, as compiled by the World Economic Forum.

They told us so. Are telling us so.

But here’s where you stop reading, because you have a mortgage payment to scrape together. You have a kid to pick up from school. You have a migraine. The U.S. government is in shambles. You’re sitting at your desk, or on the subway, and deep in the southern Indian Ocean, blue whales are calling to each other at higher pitches, to be heard over the crack and whoosh of melting polar ice. What do you even do with that?

To continue reading: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/everything-is-not-going-to-be-okay-how-to-live-with-constant-reminders-that-the-earth-is-in-trouble/2019/01/24/9dd9d6e6-1e53-11e9-8b59-0a28f2191131_story.html?utm_term=.a7d8a9168f66