To Our Great Grandchildren,
I hope so deeply that you get to be children. I want to work towards a world that does not demand your action upon your conception. I want you to be born into a world that demands your joy, your sadness, your curiosity, your hunger, your vitality, your blissfulness, with no contingency plans. I do not wish for a world in which your umbilical cord is cut moments before someone tasks you with “being a part of the generation that will fix things.” I do not just wish this because it will be too late, then, but I wish this because I want you to be born into a world that grants you your adolescence.
Today, in 2021, I am working harder every day to eliminate waste, plastic, and excess from my life. Here, in 2021, that feels radical, revolutionary. And it ought to, because under capitalism, it is. I am working towards intense purpose and action, but also towards rest – towards self-forgiveness. I am working towards ridding my whole essence of capitalism. I am working on kindness, patience. I am working on throwing away “The Leviathan,” on keeping the door unlocked. I am composting, turning the lights off, and calling my representatives. I am sending out my political and environmental action-based newsletter. I am pondering a nap. Maybe I will arrive at one. I am doing this for you. For me, but for you. So that you might arrive at a nap with ease.
I am hanging on to the one part of church that stuck with me – to love thy neighbor. I am trying, earnestly, to love the people I find it difficult to like, the most. Perhaps they need it. Perhaps Joe Manchin needs to be approached with kindness (this was hard to type). This does not mean with disregard for action. Maybe we ought to be giving coal and natural gas-heavy states, the families that have been in those industries for generations, some better foresight into the future. Maybe we ought to say less of, “I’m sorry, but,” and more of “I’m sorry, and.” Like, “I’m sorry, and to showcase that, here’s how we plan to help your family not just survive, but thrive.” Or, “I’m sorry, and so here’s a list of community organizations that are helping families cope with the changes we’re expecting from this.”
I am trying to lead with love, so that you can lead with innocence. And maybe I’ll get to meet you. Maybe the stories I’ll tell you will be from the years we almost didn’t make it, until we remembered who we were.