Today you ran up to me, arms wide open, with a purple Violet in your hand. You said, “Mama, it called to me”, and I believe it did. You surround yourself with all things purple. But you also, at the age of two, have a deep connection with nature.
We live at the base of a mountain. And you love to explore in the dense, biodiverse Appalachian forest. It’s Spring and we harvest her bounty of Chickweed, Cleavers, Henbit, and Purple Deadnettle. I teach you about plants, just like my Mama did with me.
I love this time with you. And I hope you continue to be a “friend to plants”, as you like to say. Maybe you’ll even teach your children, if you choose to have them, about plants too.
However, I’m deeply aware that the world you will be living in when you’re an adult will be a harsher, more inhospitable world for plants. But more importantly, it’s going to be a harsher world to live in, for you.
I’ve been involved in the movement to halt climate change for over a decade. I became involved when I saw the destruction of our beautiful Appalachian mountains. The oldest mountain chain in the world was being blown apart. Huge craters of sorrow were left in its wake.
I also saw how the resilient, wonderful Appalachian people in these communities were getting sick. Their water was being contaminated and their bodies were being subjected to a host of toxins. They were sacrificing their health, their communities, their majestic mountains.
There had to be a better way to get energy without requiring so much sacrifice.
And there is a better way.
We can create energy through renewable sources. We can create energy that isn’t contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. We can create energy that doesn’t make people sick because the destructive practice is in their backyard, or, because they have the fewest resources to protect themselves against climate disruption.
We have the solutions in front of us, the technology is here. We know the answer is to replace polluting fossil fuels with clean energy.
Yet, it takes time.
Mostly because of the deep entrenchment of money into the fossil fuel infrastructure. It will collapse, I am sure. But as I sit here in this 90 degree Tennessee Spring, I try not to get frustrated by how much time we’ve already lost.
When you were born, you didn’t scream.
You had large amounts of amniotic fluid in your lungs. And your celebratory breath that announced life was delayed. It was almost nonexistent. And in those terrifying moments that followed, as I waited desperate for your inhalation, I knew that I would do anything, and everything, to keep you safe.
When your breath came, it was joyous.
And as I held you, my sweet baby, I promised you that I would protect you from the little dangers of every day, like your two year old need to climb on everything, but also from the big overarching dangers that will impact your life, like climate change.
I don’t know what your world will look like when you’re reading this letter. How much habitat loss has happened, how many natural disasters you’ve seen, how much scarcity over natural resources you’ve faced.
I hope it is minimal. I hope all our concerted efforts to stop the worst of climate change have secured a more stable and safe planet for you.
When I asked you why the purple Violet called to you, you told me it was “magic”. I hope that you can still find the magic of life. I hope, despite everything, it is still in abundance.
I will never stop fighting for you. For your world, for your health, for your happiness.
You are worth every effort.
With all my love,