Climate change looms over my life: it informs my plans for my future, it pulls my thoughts into despair, and it creeps into my conversations. Putting it into words is hard, I struggle to find the balance in how to present my thoughts. I worry that the level of fear I hold will be perceived as an overreaction.
Then I wonder if those I talk to will get scared and give up before they’ve taken action. I read and wonder and struggle with how to give hope. I read and wonder and struggle with how to find hope. My friends, family, and community know how much I care about this work, and they ask me questions about it. I want to give them answers that ignite action - what our society does now still matters.
We can save millions of lives, we can prevent immeasurable suffering. I want to give them hope that isn’t unrealistic- people are already dying. Immeasurable suffering is happening. My heart aches. If you know me, you know that I love people and am deeply empathetic. I cry on public trains while listening to podcasts about strangers’ lives. I hug everyone. I am fiercely loyal, willing to give much of myself to the people around me. I believe that people are good, inherently worthy of love. I believe this is worth manifesting.
I believe we can manifest this. I want to live in a world in which access to resources like clean water is a right and a reality; that keeps fossil fuels in the ground, and holds those with power accountable for the consequences of their actions. These are the roots of my desire to work in the public interest. I’ve been told that my ideas are radical and idealistic, but I know what is at stake.
My eyes are wide open. With all that we now stand to lose, with all that is at risk, I believe that it is worth fighting for transformative, systemic change. Anything less is simply not enough. Even in times when hope is hard to find, I’m not sure where else to find meaning but in continuing to work towards change. My eyes are open, and I must do more than bear witness to what is happening.
The truth is that the people with wealth and power are the best positioned to make it through the effects of climate change. Those without wealth and power, particularly many folks of color, will feel the most challenging impacts. This injustice is further exacerbated by the fact that the groups most impacted will have contributed least to the problem.
You have likely heard high profile examples of this in the news: Australian bushfires, Flint’s drinking water, Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, the Dakota Access Pipeline, the list goes on and my stomach sinks. Grieving is not an insignificant part of living through climate change.
In order to minimize the impacts of climate change, we must first and foremost transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Additionally, we need to acknowledge that change has already begun, and we must commit