‘Ergency’

Writers’ Forum’s Daily Kickstarter: ‘Today is the 50th Earth Day, encouraging us to care for the planet. Write a list of the things you can do or change to play your part.’

Instead of opening up the document named ‘April’s Kickstarters’, filled with my previous attempts of sparking inspiration for my writing, I tapped on the Google app. I think part of me did this to explore the topic of the environment, to better my understanding before I started writing about it. But I think the other part of me opened a new tab as an excuse to procrastinate. If I’m actually researching something I’m supposed to be writing about, that counts as writing, right?

After pollinating a few flowers using Google’s animated bee (click on Google – you’ll see what I’m talking about. Well, only if you’re reading this on Earth Day, otherwise you’ll just have to be left baffled by the bee) I searched for what I could do to care for the environment. But I just couldn’t find what I wanted. I think I was hoping for an answer to lay among the statistics of pollution; something that I could do immediately that would have a large impact on Earth’s future. But there wasn’t. Neither was there a secret or something that I hadn’t heard of before.

But it allowed me to realise that I spend far too much time searching for more, rather than doing what I actually need to do or trusting what I already know. I then also realised that I had written something similar to that already. Oh. So, what else can I take away from this?

There is nothing wrong with improving our skills, but I think we need to make sure that it isn’t distracting us from what we could and/or should already be doing. And we also need to look at our intention. Argh. I’ve written about that one too. Let’s go with the former idea – not wasting time.

I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of time during this lockdown, but then, I’m sure I’m not alone (which is slightly ironic with all this social distancing). I’ve planned out my weeks with a good chunk of writing, reading, daily exercise and things to learn, sort and clean, but why haven’t I been able to just stick to it? (Even when I’ve decorated it with colours and stickers – yes, my inner five-year-old is Head of Design when it comes to my planner.) It clearly isn’t the fact that I don’t have time, because right now, I have more time than ever. Or is that actually the problem – that there is no sense of rush or urgency? (I just tried spelling urgent with an ‘e’. I think my spelling is also in lockdown.)

The last thing I want is to cause stress or panic in times like these, but what if we started to do what we already know… like, now? What if we all started responding to saving our planet with the same ‘ergency’ as this virus because ultimately, this is killing us too?

I know we shouldn’t dwell on the past; things happen for a reason, to lead us to where we are today, but I can’t help but think that if I had believed in myself and used the tools that I already knew, then maybe things wouldn’t have piled up on top me. Did I not see the importance without a visible deadline? I think deadlines are very helpful, but that doesn’t mean we should take advantage of them. Are we taking advantage of the world’s deadline?

Are we not taking the fact that we are destroying our planet seriously because we don’t think it will happen in our lifetime? (But then, did we think we would ever experience a pandemic in our lifetime?) Just because we aren’t at breaking point, it doesn’t mean we should leave things until they are, whether that’s our planet, our relationships or our mental health. Similarly, doctors are turning away patients with eating disorders because they are not ‘sick enough’. Society is causing more damage by delaying their actions until there is no other alternative but to act. But by then, it’s sometimes too late.

I think this time in lockdown has allowed us to tend to the things that we had neglected and has opened our eyes to the things that really matter. When this is all over, please continue to do the things that you’ve found more time for, that have brought you joy. Please regularly check in with people, as well as your own emotions. Please continue to work together to save lives (in case you hadn’t already heard that eight times today) by saving one another and by also saving our planet.

Don’t give up because you don’t see instant results. Don’t stop because the importance of your work is tainted by the comparison of someone else’s. Don’t put it off just because you know there is another day, month or year. And don’t take advantage of the deadline or cause damage with delay.

(I apologise for all of the brackets filled with my random ramblings. I think self-isolation has gone to my head… or maybe I’m subconsciously craving the non-essential.)

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