This is what we have done to the earth we live on: created irreversible damage. Most of us contribute to this every day. In the homes we heat and cool. In the cars we drive. In the food we buy. We have become a generation of people who refuse to give up the convenience of our lifestyles despite the severity of the problem we have collectively created.
In the estimation of Caltech chemist Nate Lewis: “If the world stopped burning fossil fuel cold turkey, it would take 10,000 years for the atmosphere to return to its pre-industrial composition. The oceans, also undergoing a chemical change, will take even longer to reverse.”
We have been advised that the measures necessary to rectify this are drastic and needed immediately. Yet the political line has already been drawn in the proverbial sand and solutions will inevitably be dragged out and watered down.
Perhaps we adults are resigned to the changes that our environment is presenting us, adapting as we have to the severity of the storms, droughts and temperature changes; but do we really care that little about our kids?
It is an enormous problem. One that can make you feel helpless in the face of it all. Yet we cannot scroll over this or look the other way, ears covered, eyes closed saying: nah-nah-nah-nah-nah out loud to block out the sounds of those trying to get our attention. Nor can we allow the intelligence we do have to be diluted by political banter and posturing. There is no effective baby-step for irreversible damage. Irreversible damage requires much more commitment.
Each of us can make a difference starting now, today. First in your personal lives by lessening your carbon footprint, then by adding your voice to the individuals around you and finally by demanding that the right actions are taken by our leaders. Here’s how:
We have a leader who wants to act. Do what you can, too. Do it for your children. Do it for their children. Do it because while we were looking the other way, the damage we created became irreversible.
I held onto my secrets for years. Decades, actually. And there are many reasons why. Reasons that anyone who has endured it — lived it — will understand. But only those who have endured it — lived it — will.
I’m writing this for everyone else.
I love you, but I’ve got to let you go.
Each time our paths cross I open my heart with renewed hope that it will be different somehow. And each time I walk away feeling empty.
My dear (____________), I realize now that at some point, I gave away my power to you. I was rebuilding my life, creating it piece by piece, and in all of its uncertainty and tender roots, I shyly let a chosen few in to tread softly and take a peek. I wanted to share my trepidation and fear and doubt and exhilaration and sheer anticipation with you. So I gave you permission to validate me. In no small way I longed for it. But it never came.