Dear Tomorrow and Dearest Lex,
When you were very small, I didn’t have the energy to think about climate change. I’ve always been passionate about environmental issues, but I took a break during my pregnancy and your infancy from thinking about them. Caring for you was the most overwhelming and rewarding experience of my life. I was totally consumed with the day-to-day responsibilities, and didn’t have the capacity to look forward into tomorrow.
Until I did. And then it broke me. I was surfing the internet one evening and I happened upon an article about climate change and what the world might look like in 2050 if we continued to do nothing to curb carbon emissions – the super storms, the rising oceans, the famines, the blistering temperatures. That article led to another one about the pollution in our oceans, and that one to an article on the current Holocene extinction event happening all around us, and so on, and so on. I was paralyzed by fear and despair. How can one person stop this? How would I explain this to you when you are old enough to understand what is happening?
I grappled with this hopelessness for some time. I went to therapy to help me develop coping skills to still live my life and be a good mom to you while I felt so overwhelmed by negative emotions. I thought a lot about what I would say to you when you asked me “What did you do, Mom, when you knew? How did people know about this, and not stop it?” I wanted to be able to truthfully tell you that I did all that I could within my small sphere of influence to fight climate change.
So I joined a bunch of groups on line that are dedicated to that. I wrote a lot of letters to my elected officials. I gave money, I signed petitions, and I spoke at public hearings in support of the Clean Power Plan and at press conferences in support of stronger rules on methane leakage from fracking. In our home, we talk about conservation and we reduce, reuse and recycle. We plant trees and grow a garden. We keep bees. In short, we do our best. Is my solitary best enough to stop climate change? Sadly, it’s not, and my worry about your future can become all consuming, if I let it. However, I do believe that the collective power of everyone’s best efforts can curb the worst effects of climate change, and provide you with a more stable and secure future.
I’m grateful for this project and the opportunity it provides to send a message to the future. Dear tomorrow – please know how much we tried and how much we love you.