You ask insightful questions, and together we learn about the mysterious world we inhabit.

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Nellie Vishnevsky Chaban
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My darlings, Juno & Vaeda,

Right now, you are five years old – precocious, kind, and endlessly curious. You are particularly interested in space: the universe, our galaxy, Mars, and our planet. You ask insightful questions, and together we learn about the mysterious world we inhabit.

Rediscovering the miracle of this blue dot we call home – one among millions and billions of planets – is awe-inspiring. I look up at the sky again and marvel at its blue-ness. How the clouds, the sun, the water, and the trees around us, all work in harmony to support this planet, teeming with incredible life.

So often, as adults, we move through the world consumed with things that feel immediate and consequential: getting to work on time, meeting a deadline, paying the bills. And yet, I wonder what would happen if we all paused to consider the immensity of the ocean; that dinosaurs once roamed where we now live; that the ground underneath our feet is never truly still; and that amazing creatures like butterflies, hummingbirds, narwhals, blue whales, giraffes, and elephants all exist. What would happen if every single person stopped to consider how all life – past, present, and future – is connected, intertwined, inextricable.

I am so grateful to be rediscovering the magic of our unique gem, the Earth, through your eyes. Since you were born, I have often thought of our planet with fear and dread. What have we humans have done to this marvelous place, our only home? What kind of future was I giving you by bringing you into this world? Escalating storms, heat waves, environmental catastrophes, and the inaction of those in power left me feeling distraught, powerless, angry, and with little hope.

And yet, I can’t help but fight for your future. At home, we take action in ways that feel meaningful. We compost, garden, and support native pollinators. We advocated for bike lanes in our community (and won!), making it easier and more pleasant for our neighbors to walk, run, and bike instead of drive. When we go to the beach, we always bring a bag to collect trash, and you take great pride in the pounds of garbage we haul off the sand. We always talk about how it’s our responsibility to care for plants, animals, and “the Earth-planet”, as you call it.

It feels important to do these things together. It feels radical to consider the miracle of this planet, as we study images of galaxies that are light-years away and wonder what mysteries the universe holds. We have the privilege of living on this strange and beautiful planet that is so unique in our small corner of the galaxy. We will find joy and awe in it everyday, as we do our part to make sure it survives. We will stay curious and find hope in the darkness, together.

I love you always,

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