I seldom climb, but I tried it once, and it was the last time. I love to be outdoors, but I wasn't build to do such activities due to my sensitive sinuses. The last time I climbed was the first time, and I did reach the peak. I still look forward to a day when I would love to try it again and regain my adventurous self. For someone who ever tried trekking or climbing a mountain, the ascent isn't exactly romantic. Much more if it is stiff and has a sensitive nose.
Whether we are novice or seasoned hikers, we still face some challenges along the trek. When I tried it before, I was drenched with the intense heat while my noses were too itchy due to hay. I had a severe backache and needed antihistamine for my sinuses. I can say it was a fun experience, although it wasn't very pleasing for me. I did it back when I graduated from university, and that was the first and last time since then.
Although trekking can be too tiresome, I've discovered why people love it aside from the breathtaking view. Growing up in the cities, we always breathe polluted air and sink through the busyness that we forget to enjoy. There is an almost frightening and deafening silence in the mountains. We don't get it in the cities, where everyone is preoccupied with the rat race. Sometimes having to experience fresh air and a tranquil environment can reset our mood and mind. Trekking allows us to reflect on our lives and goals. I may not be climbing peaks, but I still visit remote places to enjoy the tranquility of the rural.
Trekking through the mountains and immersing with nature allow us to forget our stressors for a bit. We would not be thinking about careers, jobs, and bills. We are free from what social media has to say and our families and relatives' endless speeches of what we need to do to get the label of success for them. In trekking, there is us and nature alone, and maybe some friends we went together. I may have had allergic sinusitis when I did the climb, but I did enjoy the view and, above all, the tranquility and fresh air.
But everything goes back as we return to the city, where our sky is never just the right shade of blue. We are back to breathing the poor air and sink back to the busyness. Some may be frustrated with the slow internet and crazy social media comments. We are now back in a reality where a cigarette butt narrowly missing the trash can is sufficient punishment.
How ironic? One snap, we had what nature best to offer and back to our senses that it was just a dip and not a swim. Environmental degradation is of the same irony. We see it as a massive problem, and we see through it like glass. We hear many people talking about it. They suggest what we need to do. Yet loud voices have overshadowed what matters in the day-to-day, safe and sustainable environment. We hear prolific environmental activists on different platforms, but I can say what action they started to walk the cause.
Our scientists and climate change experts assert we have one opportunity, and it is very slim, a window of time to reverse climate change and makes the world a better place once more. We are aware of what was happening since we see the numbers and experience the effect. We talked about it, but we froze to do some action. I am even guilty of that. I wrote blogs for climate change, but I have only done small parts. I still think climate change and environmental preservation are a collective effort. We can start with our little ways.
As much as I believe that collective action is the key to address climate change and environmental preservation, we need politicians that advocate better policies and funding towards climate and environmental action. Sadly, we have a society populated by politicians who have displaced thousands of farmers, fisherfolk, and indigenous people for unsustainable development agendas.
We need sustainable livelihood and programs that won't encourage the mistaken idea of progress, where our country's natural riches and citizens' lives are at risk. For example, impoverished farmers would sell trees for charcoal because it is the only way to put food on the table. We need to help them so that they will not sort out charring our forest. The shambling of politics realized climate change physically. Many are protesting these injustices combine in a chorus with the call for climate and environmental action. Some people, more often than not, downplay these calls to merely a faint murmur.
There are no fast remedies for climate change and sustainability even we put all our resources at once. We can put out collective actions like shifting to renewable resources, abstain from meat, and rejecting fast fashion trends. We can not turn around overnight the damages of a thousand years. It is a sober reminder that our environment is not one-dimensional but consists of many interactions, processes, and systems that collectively can cause degradation despite how small it was.
We are always down with choices for economic growth over environmental preservation. But I think we can do both when we have sustainable actions for progress. It's easy to forget, yet the decisions we make regarding climate change, big or little, will have long-term consequences. We need to make sure that our decision balances our thirst for progress and sustainability. What we do today for our environment can cause a ripple of effects for the future.
Hopefully, we can still have the mountain for us to trek and experience the bliss at the peak. And, let it remind us that as we ascent and descent is always bittersweet. Beyond the haze and smog, there is a blissful radiance of life.
Featured Digital Illustrations:
All artworks in the write up is created by the author.
Vanesa Castán Broto, Urban Governance and the Politics of Climate change, World Development
Nicholas Stern, The Economics of Climate Change, American Economic Review