Change the Climate

We admit it. We have climate change fatigue. 

Between checking in with our relatives on the West Coast to make sure they are upwind of smoke and have clear channels of communication to navigating flash floods, day-long power outages and twisted and broken trees in our paths as we covered the East End during this past month’s nasty nor’easters, our staff has realized that we’ve come to expect severe weather to dominate our days.

One of the biggest issues that has faced climate change activists for decades is the fatigue and feelings of hopelessness that set in when people learn just a little bit about what is happening to our warming planet. 

When climate change was a distant threat, we could put those feelings aside and go about our days. 

Today, when we’re faced with the present-day impacts, it is a natural response for people to shut down their senses and to refuse to take in more information, because the existential threat climate change poses is one no single person can fight. It is a collective form of post-traumatic stress disorder, except that the trauma is ongoing, not in the past.

There’s a new breed of climate change activist taking root on the East End, a movement coalescing around a book by Paul Hawken called “Drawdown,” which gives hundreds of concrete ideas about effective strategies individuals and communities can implement to draw carbon out of the atmosphere, in an attempt to stave off the worst effects of the changes we are already seeing every day.

Members of Drawdown East End, a group formed to implement these strategies here, will be the guest speakers at this year’s fifth annual climate change conference at the South Fork Natural History Museum in Bridgehampton on Saturday, Nov. 2 from 1:30 to 5 p.m.

We hope you take the time to drop in and listen to what they have to say. The first step to truly combatting climate change is for all of us to develop a sense of agency in our own lives. Drawdown is one path by which we can accomplish just that.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at

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