Droughts are fueling wildfires that are raging more violently every year.
Severe storms are intensifying and devastating vulnerable populations. Life is disappearing from the planet at an alarming speed, and human activities are propelling us toward a tragic tipping point.
Our climate is warming at an unprecedented rate, Earth’s ice caps are melting, the sea is rising, and communities are drowning. Overfishing is threatening food security, and our ocean is choking on nutrient and chemical runoff, carbon dioxide, petroleum, and plastic waste.
Systemic racism and inequities continue to permeate every aspect of American life. Prisons profit from mass incarceration, our justice system favors the affluent, and authorities are murdering unarmed citizens in plain sight. Individuals and families have been abandoned by society and forced to quietly battle homelessness, hunger, and mental health issues on a daily basis. Income and health disparities are at an all-time high.
Partisan division and antipathy are deeper and more pervasive than at any point in recent history. Our Republic has been corrupted. Our democracy, broken.
We are in the midst of an unrelenting and heart-wrenching pandemic—and we are a pandemic.
Are you overwhelmed? I’m overwhelmed.
What are we supposed to do? Where do we find hope?
First and foremost, we must remind ourselves that it is our civic duty to remain informed and engaged. I know what you’re thinking: the easier and less frightening path would be to run. Sprint, even. Avert our eyes. Will Canada take us?
If the state of the world and our country is breaking your heart, listen up. Heartbreak is heavy and onerous, but it demands to be carried. Out of the depths of deepest heartbreak we can uncover our highest purpose and connection. If your heart aches, you are being called to action and are needed now more than ever before.
Get angry, but do not look away.
Pick up books from local bookstores. Read the news. Flood the streets. Talk to people. Get informed from both sides, even if it feels difficult—maybe especially if it feels difficult. Intentionally carve out time to become more educated and to see the world in all of its struggle. It can’t wait any longer.
Vote. Educate yourself on local elections. Volunteer to work for campaigns or become a poll worker on election days. Lobby lawmakers. Call your legislators. Write emails, send letters, show up in person—whatever form of communication you choose, be clear about the specific actions and outcomes you want to see. And if these choices feel like too much, just be sure you vote.
Support grassroots organizations advocating for political, societal, and environmental reform at local, national, and international levels. Remember that we are playing the long game. What we do in the next 30 days matters considerably, but the next 30 years matter, too. If we want to fix the system, we need to start with equality—equality of all citizens.
We need a representative democracy, one where the rich do not have more influence than the poor. A democracy uncorrupted by the wealthiest .02 percent of campaign funders. One where all citizens nominate those who run in our elections, not a choice few. Get informed. Get involved.
And finally, we should remember to actively embrace and amplify the following everyday:
You and I are not anomalies. We are members of a massive network of human beings who care deeply about the current state of the world.
We have found ourselves in this physical and metaphorical dumpster fire not alone, but together. In discovering ourselves here, disturbed and pained, we have affirmed that the problems of some are the problems of all. A transformational time of facing our darkness and shadows has come again, and we have embraced it with open arms. We have set into motion tectonic shifts that are cracking and splitting our foundation, and light is peering through.
Out of the depths of despair, we have awoken.
Collectively, we have been reminded of our moral and civil responsibility to protect and defend ourselves, each other, our children, and our planet. Hope emanates from the shared purpose, connection, and revolutionary love that we are so visibly reviving in ourselves and in each other.
We are shining our collective light, and darkness cannot prevail.
Stay the course.