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Column: Dear climate change

These thoughts were written down by Aalto University students who participated in the Climate change and me – are you anxious? debate group in spring 2018.
Kuvassa on likaisia ruskeanharmaita tahroja ja sulamisjälkiä valkoisella pohjalla.
One of the students illustrated the letter by melting snow over the pure-white sheet of paper.

I hate you. My life would be so easy without you. Everyday activities, career choices and even my relationships would be much easier without you hovering above like a grim storm cloud that casts a shadow on my life. When I shop for food, you are there in the store. When I travel to new countries, you’re there as well. And your presence is not always only of the silently disapproving kind: sometimes you laugh right in my face when you see my pathetic attempts to adjust my life to your capricious will.

I don’t remember when you came into my life, but I well recall how. You were introduced to me as an inconvenient truth, and I received you seriously and attentively.    

I want you to know how much you influence my everyday thoughts and emotions. When I’m outdoors, no matter what the weather, you are on my mind. I think of you when it’s raining, when the sun’s shining, when the wind sways the branches.

I hate you, and because of this I hate myself as well. Because of you, I feel a flash of sorrow when I see a red-hued sunset. I hate you and, consequently, other people because I cannot save them from the havoc you wreak. And once again, all the hate I target you with also reflects on me.

To many people, you don’t even bother to point out the things you demand of me every day. Sometimes I catch myself wishing that you’d also come to Finland for real, so that others could see your true nature as well. Maybe then they would no longer see me as a miserable fool who gets anxious about the irrelevant and purposefully makes both his own life and that of others harder.

I don’t know what to say. You just are. I know that we people, myself included, have been feeding you. We allowed you to be born and grow stronger in spite of our wishes. You’re too strong, and we humans are too weak-willed.

I’m frustrated with feeling guilty. I’m angry and powerless. Ice sheets the size of Manhattan are plunging into the oceans and swooping away my undisturbed view of the world. The waves these ice blocks raise wash over me as sorrow, making it hard to stand tall. You show me how unpredictable the world is, which is why I have learned to push you away.

Everything is too conflicted,  I can’t keep my thoughts together. Without fossil fuels, I couldn’t take advantage of a world of the kind I live in today. I enjoy technology. I hate you. This conflict makes me anxious, I hate this situation.

I understand that you’re going to be my life partner, so I want to get to know you. I’m learning rituals that will help me accept you. I’m curious to find out what kind of a life our encounter and the relinquishing of the familiar will give way to.

They say that you’ll change everything. The more I think about you, the more I believe so, too. After all, you have already changed me.

This column is originally published in the Aalto University Magazine issue 22, April 2018.

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