Updated: 2 days ago
Once you fall into the deep end of depression, the abyss, and you've simultaneously tasted mania, euphoria, and all the rest of the emotions in-between you wonder what's left. Then whatever you choose to torture yourself with seems like a habit. A learnt state of being. You must only allow yourself to feel certain emotions because of where you are, who you are, what you've been given in life. And by doing this, you actively allow others to criticise you as well. If you're like me, you know that's going to be painful, but it's like an endurance test. Let's see how hurt I can be since I get so hurt easily and let's see how long I can stand it.
The basic premise is simple: everything is my fault. If I say that out loud then, of course, people will try and confirm the fact further - isn't it wonderful how we love to take advantage of one another? Who these people are and why they do this is beyond my understanding, or, even though I do understand, I can't bring myself to like this behaviour, even if I myself am capable of it. All I know is that making one person the villain is far simpler than realising our collective complicity. I've done it myself. I have actively been the person I am criticising - completely intolerant of another viewpoint, looking down on those who claim to want something more morally resound, whilst not knowing anything about the real issue, which was of course my defence against why they are wrong and I am right. We all do it. Scapegoating is convenient because it is convenient. A get out of jail free pass isn't easy to reject.
The sad truth is, very few people in the world know or have a thorough understanding of the real issues, in all their complexity, and that is not something that is easy to overcome. I say that because I have tried to become well-informed, so I know it's a minefield, and that's not exactly an original discovery. We can share information, we can even provide evidence; however, where it comes from and why it does will ultimately have little to do with what people end up doing, and I am no exception. The only thing is, the issue of energy, climate change, and geopolitics, has been my entire life. Not directly but yes directly - and I spent years and days and hours torturing myself over how everything wrong with the world was somehow related to my life, which is neither correct nor productive. However, facts are facts, and being a social researcher and an artist - it was very easy for me to corroborate my thesis with real life experiences - so, essentially, I proved to myself that I was right - because I wanted to be - because I could see injustice. Gender inequality and climate change are linked, and my parents' life proves that in a much wider sense, because even as beneficiaries there is no genuine equality, when the root causes have implications that are far broader than most of us can comprehend. I tried to comprehend and I learnt a lot, and drove myself crazy in the process, too.
Those of you sitting and reading this on your electronic devices hopefully recycle, but you don't go out in search of food and fuel every single day as though your life depended on it. Neither do I. But, that's really what tackling climate change is about - preventing calamities from further damaging and impoverishing the already vulnerable. So, then, I hope it becomes obvious why feminism and gender inequality is tied to this, as women are, yes, the more vulnerable gender. It's not as great a privilege as some mens rights' activists make it out to be. In fact, some of my writing on this subject, due to its highly personal nature, has also been considered misandrous. Why? Because of the capitalist male breadwinner model - the idea that men have money and women have domestication. This will always result in women having less access to resources, natural and otherwise, which essentially means they will suffer more when the effects of climate change begin to damage our lives. The point I'm trying to make is: we must see gender, mental health, and the Earth as one.
Gender inequality does harm both men and women, thus resulting in poorer quality of life and mental health, which invariably has a negative impact on the Earth, as damaged relationships lead to weaker communities, and weaker nations, and a non-cooperative economy, and more inequality. Now, that's a really jumbled summary of some rather complex subjects. There is no easy way to say this in any way that's simpler than anything I've already said. The actual problem is not whether I am the expert and you are not, it's just I know what it's like when people take advantage of one person's sensitivity. The issue with issues like climate change is that they are incredibly convenient for moral positioning. Positional objectivity becomes a non-issue when you find a cause that claims to take care of the entire world. You can never be wrong when you're speaking on behalf of the wellbeing of planet Earth, which is the home of all humanity as we know it. By jumping on the bandwagon of saying everything that sounds nice you can become really comfortable and ensure your heroism, after all, if there is any good and evil in the world, surely it exists here and nowhere else - say the good things, hate the bad guy - you always win.
But as it often happens in life, what if the bad guy is actually the good guy?
On that note, I'm going to wrap this up by saying that the most productive conclusion I've arrived at is that a more compassionate politics is more useful than the guilt-based narratives, which dominate most social movements pertaining to the environment. Yes, you may point a finger and say, of course you would say that, because you benefit from it. Well, whether or not I really directly benefit from any of it is something I won't get in to - energy is far more than employees at a company earning salaries to support their families - but even if it is true, then trying to destroy the structures, which have survived for so long to uphold a global economy results in the same friction we find in social movements that are to do with people directly, like anti-racism. What I mean is, it's not up to any one of us to determine who is at fault. There are court rooms, judges, and crime and punishment, for all of that.
I have learnt that in taking care of myself on this matter - it is what I choose to do every day that makes the greatest difference, not what I show anyone else that I am doing. That's what will work for me because the criticism is out there and my life is my life. I can't apologise for my entire existence because some environmentalists think that in my doing so they will have solved the climate crisis. That's not true, and it's sad that a lot of protest and activism is less to do with facts and more to do with theatre.
And well, the rest is history. My hope is we will be able to have better conversations about how best to tie gender equality with climate change as we progress in the world together, bearing in mind that no one deserves to have their mental health be utterly destroyed in the process of trying to achieve this outcome.
Climate conscientiousness is not as simple as who spoke the loudest or demonstrated they care the most. If you want to know anything from my life, then here's the final take-away: focus on your own practices because that's ultimately the only thing that will definitely make a difference.
Then you can go yell outside the offices of the corporates.