I wash empty milk cartons before I recycle them. I carry my groceries in a reusable bag. I sip my milk tea through a metal straw as the world burns.
‘Make a difference’, they say. As if my compost bin can save the world. Nevermind the fruit flies, just drown them in vinegar.
Because the onus is on us. The weight of the world rests on our shoulders. Yet the fate of the world lies beneath the heels of the rich, their carbon footprints stamped down like corporate logos.
Someone will fix this mess. Someone has to. Maybe it’ll be the rich and powerful — an act of philanthropy, be it out of goodwill or for the tax benefits. Maybe it’ll be when their vacation homes sink in the tropics. Maybe it’ll be when profits begin to plummet as death tolls rise.
Or maybe they won’t lift a single finger, burdened by the weight of diamond rings and gold-chained watches. Heavy is the hand that wears the Rolex, after all.
Or perhaps we should look to the youth, for however long their activism will last. Because that’s the thing about caring: the brighter you burn, the darker everything feels when you inevitably burn out.
It’s like staring at the sun. You can glare up at it for however long your retinas last, but at some point, it’s easier to look away — to deny, to ignore, to live in our tiny little bubbles till they start to pop.
Till it’s our water that’s polluted. Till it’s our air that’s unbreathable. Till it’s our homes that burn. Till we start dropping like fruit flies.
Until it’s too little too late.
I’ll still wash my empty milk cartons. I’ll still use reusable bags. I’ll still sip my milk tea through a metal straw, because if the world’s going up in flames, I might as well stay hydrated.
I’ll do what I can, if only to say that I tried.