By Mary Cappelletti
Throughout my college experience, my study abroad trips, this internship, the interviews I’ve participated in, and my evolution as a person and an environmentalist, I’ve continually been introduced to new ideas, outlooks, approaches, and attitudes. At times I am met with desperation and despair, other times I am met with hope and optimism. Some want to change the tide in politics to create policy changes that benefit the climate and all life on earth. Some want to change the way people consume to promote ethical, sustainable relationships with the things we consume and the natural world. At times, this becomes overwhelming and confusing. How do I find the best, the right way to combat climate change? I’ll probably never find the one best way to solve the problem of climate change, likely because there is no one solution. But, if there was it would likely be exactly what David Perk described in our recent interview.
David Perk is just a normal parent and citizen, but somewhere along the line he realized, “something had to be done.” David says it’s possible that we’re past the tipping point, but he joined the fight after the Bush administration and hasn’t stopped since. He has been involved in stopping coal and oil trains in Washington through participation in a variety of organizations, and is currently a board member for 350 Seattle. David isn’t sure how to persuade people to get involved, but he believes some major changes need to be made. In particular, capitalism needs a makeover or a complete disposal. He notes that capitalism is an expression of human nature, and therefore it will be difficult to change. However, it is critical that humans develop a more holistic way of living and thinking. We must realize the consequences of our actions on future generations and the planet. We need to change the way we consume to start living in a way that benefits all of society, rather than our individual selves.
David wants to see the system change, and he thinks it will likely have to happen bottom up. Theoretically, most of the world gets it (Paris agreement), the US is just behind. To him, it seems the crazy has all risen to the top in our government, but he sees hope in the young people of the next generations. David says that although the changes he speaks of have to happen from the bottom up, simply increasing awareness will not do the trick. People can be educated, but they have to feel something if they’re going to be inspired to make changes. There’s a difference between understanding and feeling, and David thinks that might just be the key. Rather than just making people to “get it,” we need them to “feel it.” An interesting thing to consider for yourself. Do you simply understand climate change, or do you believe in it and feel something about it?