I know I need to write this to you, and I don’t want to because it makes me so sad. I have been desperately avoiding my feelings about climate change, for many years, but especially and with greater intensity every year since you were born. Last week the IPCC 6 report came out, laying out clearer than ever before that humanity needs to act immediately to stop destroying the earth and burning fossil fuels. We need to go to zero emissions by 2050. In 2050, you’ll be about the age that I am now (36). So I’m writing this to 36-year old you.
I am so, so, so very sorry. I’m so sorry that we don’t have the world that you deserve, and that me and the other generations before yours didn’t act fast enough to prevent things from getting as bad as they are now (in 2021). I ache with hope deep down in my bones that if you’re reading this in 2050, we’ve made some truly dramatic shifts. I’m scared we haven’t, and the world you live in might look unrecognizable to our current selves. If that is the case, I hope you have had decades of joy and are still able to find it, whatever that looks like. I hope you know how deeply I love you, and that as painful as it is to know that you and the rest of your generation have to face this pain, I’m still so glad you are here and I get to know you, with whatever time and in whatever way we get.
But mostly I want you to know that I am writing this as a promise to you. I promise to choose hope, and to use hope as my axe. I’ve been feeling a lot of despair lately, and I’m working on moving through that to the other side. Being stuck in despair won’t help you and won’t change anything. So here is my promise: I will fuel myself with love for you, and with love for that which we can save. I know there will be times I get stuck in the grief of all we have lost and will lose. I don’t know how to make a difference yet, and I know I will get overwhelmed by how big it all is and everything that needs to be done. But I promise to keep coming back to doing, whenever I can. Right now I’m excited about helping push for high speed rail in the Pacific Northwest, and about connecting with and helping other parents think about these things so we can all be doing what we can instead of being frozen. I’m sure there will be other things, and there will be lots of things that get in the way. But I am going to show up, make noise about it, be uncomfortable, try things, change things about my behavior, talk to other people about the changes I’m making, and try and find other people to build and fight and push with. I’m going to do what I can. I’m going to try for this: “you have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.” (Dr. Angela Davis).
I hope we can read this together and see what has changed. Either way, please know that I love you from the deepest parts of my being and am always no matter what so glad I got this chance to be your mom.
I love you,