Dear Lucca and Sonia,
I’m writing this letter to you on December 26, 2017. You are both still young children, floating on the wonder of Santa’s visit. By the time you see this letter, you may be older than your parents are now.
You see, I’m writing this letter now as a kind of time capsule artifact, one you will open decades later. Right now we are beginning to experience the effects of climate change. As the glaciers melt and the planet warms, there are sunny day floods on the streets of Miami Beach, Florida. This past year there were horrific hurricanes with subsequent flooding in Florida and Mississippi and Texas. And the West was consumed by large forest fires. Napa county, Santa Rosa and Redwood and Potter Valleys were decimated by fast moving fire storms the night of October 8th and into the next few days.
You may not remember that I was very involved with a national group called Elders Climate Action. I joined it in 2014 when it was just getting started and helped to build a national movement of Elders who wanted to ensure there would be a safe, sustainable and viable planet for our grandchildren. I did it because, at a time when I was newly retired and feeling helpless and hopeless about the state of the world, I realized that I wanted to be able to tell you that I had done everything I could to leave you that just, sustainable world.
This time right now, as I write this letter, may be what Joanna Macy calls The Great Turning, a time when humans realized the ways they were killing Mother Earth and began to turn it around.
I pray that by the time you read this we will have succeeded, that you are not living in a time of climate disruption, that there is good organic food to eat and that our country is recognized as a leader in saving the planet.
Many, but not all people acknowledge that the way we’ve lived for centuries is killing our beloved earth. You’ve already experienced fire storms in our area with your parents being ready to evacuate and both of them working extra hours in the aftermath of the fires, helping others. I worry that there will be more extreme weather events, that the Coastways beach will disappear and that our community will either flee as refugees or be receiving them from elsewhere.
That’s why I’ve been devoting myself to organizing other grandparents and elders to speak up, to get our government to enact laws that force us to make the changes we resist. You might remember that I went to Washington DC and visited Congressional offices and went on a huge Climate March.. I’ve been helping organize a local climate action group here in Ukiah as well. I even talked about it on a radio program and in a short video for the California Naturalist Program. I am determined to do everything I can to ensure that your future will be as wonderful as possible. And I hope that you are carrying on this work, speaking up for social and environmental justice, working to dismantle the patricarchal, racist and homophobic corporatocracy that keeps trying to take control. It’s essential for each of us to do what we can.
Do you remember how Papa Marc and I drove old funky cars? That’s because we believe that re-using and re-purposing and re-cycling are important. There are lots of small things we do in the way we live but most importantly, I’ve been determined to change the political will in this country to address climate change before it’s too late.
How did I do?