This op-ed by actor Chris Noth was originally printed in Metro on Monday, April 21.
I’m not too big to admit that climate change terrifies me.
These days, I’ve had to wonder whether our atmosphere will withstand what we’re pumping into it, whether the natural systems that we’ve relied on to sustain life on this planet will keep working into my son’s generation and into his children’s generations beyond that.
What frightens me most is not the science it’s political inaction. The world’s scientists have said that we have a finite amount of time to save our climate, and yet we still don’t have the political will we need for massive action.
So what do we do? That’s my question every time I read another piece of bad news. Should we all plant trees, recycle, what does the regular consumer do? Our individual actions are good but the real change we need is from corporations and governments, and that action is not coming fast enough. How do we fight this feeling of powerlessness, and make any kind of impact on one of the biggest challenges of our time?
This Earth Day, my recommendation may surprise you.
I care about what’s happening to our climate because I love it here, and I believe that to save our climate we all need to rekindle that love of place.
It’s easy to forget the simple fact of how beautiful this earth is. I’m as urban as any New Yorker, but I’ve always loved nature. It’s not just because we need clean air, clean water, and a stable climate to live, but also because nature gives us poetry. Nature fuels our art. Nature feeds our spirit.
For me, it’s always been trees. They are the perfect symbol of resilience, and committing to protecting them is a commitment to stand for something that should last long after we do. Whenever I lose hope I find myself rereading Robert Frost’s poem, “The Sound of Trees.” When it comes to climate change trees are also one of the most important things to protect. That’s why I will always support the people at groups like Rainforest Action Network that dedicate their lives to protecting our forests, and making sure we don’t allow big business to destroy the beauty of this earth for profit.
For you, maybe it’s not the trees, maybe it’s the ocean, maybe it’s a particular animal, or maybe it’s the smile on your kid’s face when they get to play outside. The bad news is, we’re seeing a climate tipping point that will impact all of this. But I believe there is no tipping point for American perseverance, for finding the will to get to work despite the odds. It’s our collective will that has always gotten things done in this country.
If you believe that the landscape of this country is too beautiful and too important to lose, then join me this Earth Day. It’s time to remember why this planet is worth saving in the first place. It’s time to do more together.
Chris Noth is a celebrated actor and honorary board member of Rainforest Action Network. Join Chris to raise funds for the rainforest on Monday, June 16 at Cutting Room. Tickets will be sold at http://ran-ecorock.eventbrite.com.