The Oscars — environmental musings

The movie “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once” is an interesting metaphor for all the complex multi-dimensional interactions that drive the natural world.

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash
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Ron Martino

Editor’s note: This is one in a continuing series of guest opinions about fostering environmental stewardship and leadership coordinated by ACES — The Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards.

The movie “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once”, won in many Academy Award categories this past Sunday, including for best Direction. A youthful Westboro High School and Emerson College graduate Daniel Kwan is bringing an Oscar home as he was the co-director.

The movie is an interesting metaphor for all the complex multi-dimensional interactions that drive the natural world, its biodiversity, and its eons of evolution. So let’s borrow imagery from this Oscar winning movie to help us wrap our minds around the facts that the environment and climate is about everything, everywhere and all of our actions over time.

The movie is an imaginary multiverse that makes it possible for human minds to glimpse the complex reality of the world. and if we take that idea on board, maybe it will help us see new ways to help heal the Earth. Whether we are hearing about the California snowpack, right whale entanglements or the decline of bees, it’s hard to put all the Earth’s climate and environmental dynamics in context. But we must try.

With a nod to the Oscars let’s all try to think in a multi-dimensional broad-spectrum way as the movie does for a few minutes. First consider that “Everything” is a lot! Whether we are thinking about Pandas or Plastics and PFAs, it would take an extraordinary mind to take it all in and keep it straight. Even dedicated environmentalists need to tackle specific parts of all the issues.

So being at the evolutionary stage we are as a species and if we are desirous of helping the Earth to heal, we need to unpack these uses a bit. We can’t fix everything as individuals. But we can join in with others locally, like ACES and its Allies and globally by supporting international environmental organizations to play our parts in the drama of preventing extinctions and the decline of civilization.

“Everywhere” is a very big space to cover. We need to be thinking at eco-system scale. Exploring concepts like the Merrimack river’s watershed ecosystems, or the Gulf of Maine or the Great Marsh. Or planting pollinator gardens in networks from Newburyport to West Newbury to ultimately the Mexican Monarch butterfly flyway.

And the toughest idea of all to comprehend is ‘can we do everything all at once”? Clearly, we can’t do that. We are temporal beings, and we just can’t get all of it personally done all at once. But collectively and intergenerationally we have a real opportunity for reaching those goals. We just need to do a little at the time in each small way ‘now’ available to us and prepare the kids to continue the work.

As an example of things to do “now”, next time you go shopping for groceries, just buy as much as you’ll need with no waste likely and choose items in non-plastic containers.

And before you go, plan a shopping list so you might be able to save an extra trip by not forgetting something you’ll need in a few days. If you can walk to the grocery store, bring a reusable shipping bag and make it part of your fitness regimen.

If you need to drive for shopping, swing by a gas station to take a minute to correctly inflate your tires. It will save you money and rolling more smoothly reduces greenhouse gases. and as you head home, feeling good about doing your small, but important part, for Earth healing, be mindful of your driving style. Coast into stop lights don’t just break late and forget those gas wasting jackrabbit starts. That species belongs in their prairie home not on Storey Avenue.

Unfortunately, “yes we can’t” makes for an awkward bumper sticker. Because we can’t do it all, do it everywhere and do it right now! It needs the coda, that “yes we can”, over time and incrementally and with other voices and friends, everywhere and in future generations.

Ron Martino lives in Newburyport and is an ACES advisor/mentor.

Our Youth Corps members hope that you will sign up for our free newsletter [] and act. Together we can get everything done, everywhere, that needs to be done now to help our Earth heal. To learn more about ACES and its Initiatives, visit https://www.aces-alliance. org/

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about the author
Ron Martino

After a career in Marketing for science and high tech based corporations, Ron is a member of the Marketing Communications Team of the Alliance of Climate and Environmental Stewards (ACES) where he often focuses on our communication strategies both in traditional and social media.

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