"When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money." —North American Indigenous proverb

by Natalie Bencivenga


April 21, 2022

The stakes are higher than ever when it comes to acknowledging and fighting against the climate crisis. According to a recent study from the U.N., if we don’t collectively act before 2025 to significantly reduce fossil fuel emissions, disastrous climate change effects will occur. Three years. Why have we kicked this stone down the road for so long? Things have become so dire that a group of scientists calling themselves the “Scientist Rebellion” are openly — and peacefully — demonstrating around the world. The Scientist Rebellion estimates that around 1,000 scientists in 25 countries stood in solidarity in early April 2022, wearing lab coats to identify themselves while engaging in civil disobedience. 

But why are they drawing attention to this crisis now? Things are becoming desperate. Peer-reviewed papers and speeches behind closed doors aren’t working. According to the Paris Agreement, countries are failing at limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a conservative figure released in the latest report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.  

The United States is one of the wealthiest nations in the world — and one of the biggest contributors to the climate crisis. Burying our heads in the sand and politicizing this issue hasn’t worked. It is unethical and immoral to stand by and do nothing. There are solutions. We need to deploy renewable energy on a large scale, electrify as many systems as possible — including mass transit — transition to alternative fuels like hydrogen and reduce methane emissions. This cannot happen on an individual basis, but instead, governments, corporations and global industries must face facts. Without massive collective change, without putting people before profits, without upending systems that benefit a few and not the many, we will all suffer. Many of us will perish. 

And yes, while it is depressing to think about, we cannot allow it to paralyze us. Individuals can make noise. Vote. Vote for people who support sweeping environmental legislation that creates green jobs, clean air and water and drives initiatives in your community that uphold these values. Eat more plants. Buy secondhand clothing. Stop buying single-use plastics. Educate yourself on this topic. Support businesses that are working towards sustainable practices or currently engaging in them. Recognize that our collective power can shift the world and change this planet for the better. 

There are some willfully ignorant people who will never get on board. Ignore them. Focus on what you can control. How can we make a difference so that our children have a world worth inhabiting? We are on the edge of the cliff. What will you tell your children that you did? Who did you support? What changes did you make? Let’s all do our part and work towards creating a healthier, happier home for us all. 

Get started with action items HERE. Share with me the steps you are taking to do your part on Twitter @nataliebenci #EarthMattersNow2022


Natalie Bencivenga is a regular columnist with The Green Voice Weekly Newsletter and hosts Pittsburgh Earth Day's VEGED; Earth Inspired Eats