What Happens After We Know It's Real
I too feel myself adapting . Nervous nibbling at the edge of danger. Like a mouse,
my eyes dart, unable to focus. The arctic wind will come again. I see my kin, the pines at the edge of the field. They stand in a group. Talking, I think.
What you point out is very troubling, and I feel it too. And don't know what to do about it - don't know if I can shift from fiddling while the world burns... dancing on hot coals.
Out where I live in the West, our forests are burning up before our eyes droughts are becoming the new "normal" and people are protesting- but not for climate change issues -but for wage increases, police misconduct and other valuable issues but that totally ignore the natural world. I write a odd little blog that evinces a certain detachment in all matters, but in my real, personal life, I am contributing large amounts of my disposable income to environmental groups. I too feel the urgency, but no one else of my circle does and thats very troubling- they're all liberal, highly educated people but they seem oddly numbed.
I have the bug. I think the flaw with evolution is that in all animals, people, insects, ocean creatures, and any being that can move, urgency only comes with imminent immediate danger. The thing that gives me some comfort is that my generation feel more sad about the tremendous loss that climate change is bringing than our grandchildren will. It not be felt in the same way as our grandchildren, who didn't have the climate equilibrium we had, so they don't feel the same loss. It is the only thing that comforts me. The biggest enemy to the climate is that the corporations' mission is to make as much money as they possibly can. The bottom line is all that matters. And in many countries like our own, our country thinks that is okay. We are fighting fossil fuel companies whose mission by law is too make as much money as possible without regard to anything else. Until that changes, we will be masters of our own destruction, not to mention the cause of the sixth extinction. I keep hoping there will come a point where we consider climate change a war worth fighting. We can make sacrifices in wartime but we can't seem to do that in peacetime. I think of it as a war.
What a terrific question: what happens after we know it’s real? Perhaps it is such an overwhelming existential threat that the vast majority choose to go on with blinders on. On the wall of the Circular Church UCC in Charleston SC where I worshipped this morning, the high water line (during storms like Hurricane Hugo) for 2020 completely covers the ancient cemetery. I’ll send you a photo. Charleston and environs are in great danger! My hair is on fire!
Another masterfully written piece that really made me think! Thank you. You nailed the disconnect and numbing that often happens once people know it's real and I believe it's there that our activist/organizing practice comes in to offer a home for them to take action in collaboration with kindreds. Much love to you and yours.
The very specific ways you translate the information presented about what the rise in sea level will mean for the land you sit on right now and the coast where you and your children built so many memories created a visceral sense of what we are losing in me. I don't live in Maine. I live on the West Coast where every day I walk along the cliffs that are eroding with each drought, each storm, each higher-than-normal tide. Managed retreat are dirty words here. I see people building only feet away from what will eventually be covered in water.
Even so, I confess that there is a constant struggle to keep the sense of urgency alive in me. It is more a question sometimes of where to direct that sense of urgency and the energy acting on it requires. Reading your essays is helping me.