Most days I say I’m not afraid. Then I see a picture of a circle of elephants or a picture of a flock of swans and I’m struck by beauty and fear. My sons are just out of college with no thought of having children. Yet in my dreams a grandchild with big eyes looks up at me asking, “What happened to the rainforests? Why did the coral reefs disappear?” And I go numb. I’m more petrified than the severest judge glaring at me declaring “guilty. The ecological disaster happened on your watch.”
Well, dear grandchild, I am working on it. My house is energy efficient, my car is a Prius, and I spend several hours a week organizing. I’m out on the streets asking our leaders not to build the XLK pipeline. I write letters, asking Massachusetts leaders to devolve now from electricity from gas and coal. Still the gas companies are strong. How can I make a difference?–little me make a change against the Koch brothers, against Exxon, against BP or General Electric? Is my work on climate change a case of act faithfully and not depend on the results?
Living out of despair I see that I’m living still in the world of consumerism and excess. I may have to give up my car, but I’m happy every time I can haul soil and groceries around in an auto. I give thanks for hot showers and mint chocolate chip ice-cream even though I know they may become luxuries soon. I live knowing that I’m changing, knowing that this life is extraordinary. If I listen to climate activisits I’m not doing enough. They glower at me in my nightmare state that I’m the oppressor stealing the future from my grandchildren.
Actually I’m a snake about to molt. I’m shedding off the old skin, the habits of oppressing the earth. I’m moving into a shiny skin, more useful skin, shoring up the earth for future generations.
I know by composting more garden beds, and putting solar panels on roofs, and decreasing my carbon footprint, I’m shape-shifting the future. My actions transform me, liberate me from fossil fuels, and that contributes to the liberation of all.
No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.