Halloween: The Ghosts that Haunt Us

Happy Halloween! We, in North America have taken the celebration of ghosts, goblins and monsters to an extreme, and on October 31st we will be ringing in this festive and spooky holiday in a myriad of ways. It is an opportunity for fun and fantasy and an opportunity to “be in the moment” and enjoy!

I wanted to share some highlights from some of our past ClimateMama posts, some of our “scary” ghosts and goblin stories, as quite frankly these are stories that aren’t going to go away. Our kids health, future and now is in our hands and Halloween is as good a time as any to  remind us all that we must make climate solutions a part of our lives moving forward.

What continues to really scare to me, and what remains largely ignored by the main stream media (and many of my friends) are facts shared by the international climate community through the September 2013 International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which has a “spooky and terrifying REAL life story” to tell us..and which should be a compelling motivator  to move us forward to act on climate now, through both big and small ways…  As we have shared in an earlier post hundreds of peer reviewed scientific reports that have been reviewed by hundreds of scientists around the world confirm that:

The world’s climate continues to warm at an unprecedented rate, and that, with more than 95% certainty, scientists are confirming that humans are the primary cause of this warming.

The rate of sea level rise is also accelerating at unprecedented rates and we need to move beyond historical rates to reflect the current changes.

The arctic sea ice continues to melt rapidly and our oceans are rapidly acidifying, as they absorb much of the excess heat and atmospheric C02.

An updated report is expected from the IPCC in September 2018, and climate reality only become clearer and more urgent.

None of this is good, and I have to wonder how many more “nails in the coffin” we need to be presented with before we start not only adapting to the changes we are all experiencing, but actually doing something to stop them.

Following this scary story, let me share a personal, family Halloween story too.

I watched the “Terminator” movie series with my son a few years ago, in a “movie marathon” of sorts when we were both home sick. “Timely” in a way, as we get ready for Halloween, given that all the movies in the series focus on scary creatures.

The movies are filled with a lot of murder, monster and mayhem. I figured though, not much more gruesome than some of the electronic games my son plays with his friends, much to my pacifist chagrin. I choose to watch the whole series with my son, as a kind of ghoulish bonding experience, and was reminded that there is a message threading it’s way through the series – subtly and some times not so subtly the movie points out: humankind’s responsibility to care for and to rescue our world and us, for future generations – made even more relevant by the recent IPCC report.

In watching the Terminator movies, I felt that we Climate Mamas and Papas are a bit like the character of Sarah Connor who was the mother of John, the “savior” of the human race. There is overwhelming evidence available to anyone who wants to see it – we humans are destroying our planet. Like Sarah, we know that the “monsters” are lurking. In our case we know that we are changing our ecosystems and heating up our world through our thoughtless emissions of greenhouse gases and our wasteful consumerism. We too often close our eyes and pretend we can’t see.

Not to put a crimp on Halloween, as in most cases our celebrations are harmless. Or are they? There is a line that runs through the Terminator movies, “No fate but what we make”. How in North America, did we turn a harvest festival and the occasion to tell a few good ghost stories, into a mass consumerism event? We in America “do things up big”, Halloween being no exception. The holiday has turned into a marketer’s dream. We buy cards for friends, we buy new costumes for our children, and we purchase as many “crazy, scary and festive” decorations as we can, rivaled only by how we decorate for the winter holidays.

In the northeast US, if you “don’t” decorate for Halloween, you are almost considered a “scrooge”. We haven’t even talked about the candy and other goodies we give out (in single use containers no less – so no one can accuse us of “tampering” with the goodies). Which side of the looking glass are we looking thru, have we made our fate?

Lets flip the picture and look to the positive and come up with ways to heal our world one small step at a time.

1. What about recycling yours and your kid’s costumes, exchanging them with friends for a “new costume” for next year or think about giving the costume to a school or a camp or a used clothing store. Just because the Halloween magazines start coming in August, doesn’t mean you have to succumb to your kid’s demands to get a new costume each year. I fell under that spell for all too long!!

2. What about saving those great decorations and reusing them.

WikiCommons: Tim Jewett

3. Compost, eat or give away the vegetables you display instead of letting them rot on the front porch. Be inventive, be creative. As we in America top off another land fill with our garbage, and pollute our waterways with our leftovers our planet’s ability to recover continues to be compromised. And we aren’t even talking about all that methane gas that collects in those landfills and what harm this potent greenhouse gas can do when it is released into our atmosphere.

4. Think about the candy you buy, where does it come from, packaging, etc. Grist did an interesting article recently on “candy you can feel good about,” read it and discuss this with the kids in your life. There is always, “more to the story” that we normally consider!
Ghosts and goblins are lurking all year around, not just on Halloween. As you celebrate this holiday, engage your children and your grandchildren and consider more sustainable ways to celebrate all our holidays. Also, remember to say “Boo” back, to anyone who questions the reality of climate change! Show your kids you are superheroes and stand up for truth and justice.

Yours truly,

Climate Mama

(Content in this post about the terminator series is “recycled” in part from a 2011 CM Post. In honor of Halloween, and in case you missed it the first time, an “oldie” but a goodie – Enjoy!)

Photo credits from first two photos, via Unsplash.com: Pumpkins, Beth Teutschmann; Halloween kids, ConnerBaker.

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