I honestly didn’t realize the burning house metaphor was insufficient for describing climate change before Ray pointed it out. I didn’t question it initially, but it makes sense now. The earth isn’t just one person’s house, it’s everyone’s home. You can’t leave the planet while you can leave a house. And you can’t stop climate change by yourself, everyone has to work together to stop it.
I couldn’t think of a more appropriate metaphor for a long time (as in four days). Today I settled on the metaphor of a family.
The family belongs to every member. It is shared equally. It’s just as much “my family” as it is “my dad’s family” or “her family”.
Yes, a person can technically estrange himself or herself from the family, but he or she will always be a part of it. Obviously people get divorced, abandoned, or rejected, but blood doesn’t change. While you can technically leave a family, you can’t change the biology of your body. Your family is always your family.
When something bad happens to a family, like death or a big change, every member must deal with it both individually and together. If a family has to move, every member has to move. If a family loses an income source, every member must make adjustments. Everyone has to work together to make family’s work.
Obviously this is a very flawed metaphor. Families are all different and complex and not all of them can be compared to climate change, but I believe certain families can be.