Words by: Greg Hill
Photos by: Anthony Bonello, Bruno Long, and Mattias Fredriksson
For many years, I was conflicted about the way I adventured. There was a huge hypocrisy between what I got in return from nature and how I was approaching it. I would wake up early, start my huge diesel truck, watch the black smoke stain the white snowbank. Drive solo out to a trail head, pull start my snowmobile and duck below the billowing cloud of fossil fuels as it warmed up. I’d loudly rip up a logging road to reach my trail head. From there, I would walk silently, appreciating nature, loving the quietness of the skin track and the beauty of the trees. Summiting a peak, I would sit and contemplate life; suffused with happiness. Nature was giving me so much and all I was doing was taking. Most of my actions were destroying this for future generations.
Reading the news and watching the world spin, it was very obvious that we are ruining our only home. I don’t even need to go into any of it – you already know. It’s so easy to get caught up in the eco-anxiety and to feel powerless, to point fingers and claim that it is big businesses’ fault and there is nothing we can do as individuals. We have so much power that we don’t even realize; so much purchasing power. Everything that we buy represents our values. Every action has consequence and many small actions amount to a big change.
It took many years for me to finally be ready to commit to giving up the conveniences and be better. I was very scared to take the first step because I knew I would never be perfect. Looking at my kids helped me understand I could (and should) be a lot better.
Initially, I simply wanted to change the way I got to the trail heads as this was obviously the biggest impact of the way I was living my life. I decided to approach life differently and explore a little more lightly. I sold my truck and gave away my snowmobile. While waiting for my electric car, I pondered other ways to be better. My family quickly became weekday vegetarians. I now look at my life differently and am very conscious of each and every action that I take.
I have never considered myself an activist, but this summer I started going to some of these climate marches for the future. The power behind 100,000 people marching for a cause was incredibly inspiring. If each of the 7 million people that marched for climate action all made small changes in their lives, it would amount to massive change. I can say that I personally feel much more empowered when marching or talking about the climate issues because I personally have chosen to make sacrifices. Progress and change is the goal; not perfection.
I started making small changes, but I didn’t realize at the time how profound these changes would become, each one building off the other. The electric car is the most obvious but it stimulated all the other actions I have taken. Out of all the exploration I have done this one has been the most rewarding. What I do know now is that it feels GOOD to act. The easiest way to deal with eco-anxiety is to work hard and to push ourselves and the people around us.
To forego the conveniences and strive for a better future.