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December 20, 2022

9 Ways to Keep Hope Alive amid the Climate Crisis.

Author’s note: This is the first article in a series on the climate crisis. I hope you found some of these suggestions useful. Feel free to ask questions or share what you’d like to read about in the series in the comment section.
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After 62 years of living in my birthplace of Southern California, my partner and I moved to the middle of nowhere.

Now our home is in a rainforest on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee.

What compelled us to take this leap and leave our family and friends?

For years we saw the beautiful equestrian trails we rode our horses on turn to dry tinder for wildfires. The ponds that brought several species of migrating birds and created a Wildlife Preserve in the county dried up. The coyotes in the preserve were emaciated and unwell.

It was heartbreaking to watch this unfold year after year as the temperatures kept warming and our little horse town became a desert. The snow geese stopped coming, then the blue herons ceased nesting, finally the egrets came by less, instead visiting our homes seeking food and water.

Meanwhile, surrounding cities kept allowing more home developments and shopping centers to accumulate. Were they even considering how they were going to provide the infrastructure for the ever-growing expansion?

Maybe you’ve observed this in your neighborhoods. This greed and consumption of our planet’s resources is a global issue and those creating the problems are the ones least likely to want to take any action to resolve them. Why should they? It is not in their interest.

TreeSisters, whose mission it is to reforest the planet, helped ignite the activism spark for me when I was grieving and confronting the realities of what was happening to our golden state of California. Now, we consider ourselves early climate refugees.

Maybe you feel overwhelmed by the climate catastrophes taking place. Maybe it feels like we’re all in over our heads and skepticism is creating paralysis.

With so much information coming at us, it can be difficult to focus on the future we want to create for our planet.

What does your vision of our future planet look like? What do you value most? How does it make you feel when you see what’s going on in your community? Your state? Your nation? The world? How would you change it if you were in power?

If you voted from your dream of what the future Earth could be, how would you vote? What choices could you make toward being a climate activist today?

Here are some actions we can take to fight the climate crisis, even on the days when we feel like pulling the covers up over our head because it’s all just too much for us:

>> Meditate, journal, pray on the vision of the planet you would like to leave behind. What will your legacy be?

>> Spend time in nature.

>> Share your grief, anxiety, hopes, and dreams with someone who is aligned on the climate crisis with you.

>> Use the power of your vote to usher in candidates who support climate action.

>> Start eating more plant-based meals and less dairy.

>> Grow your own food.

>> Join a group who focuses on reforestation efforts and climate activism, and learn through community.

>> We need to consider the ethics of forced births in a warming world. 

>> The climate crisis corresponds with greed, consumption, inequality, human rights, and most every other issue facing us today. Working toward positive change on any of these topics is working on climate change.

The feeling of peace we get from being able to steward this ancient hemlock forest and listen to and observe the clear, running creek as we hear bird songs has become our core value. There is no greater free entertainment than sitting on the porch with my love and watching the wildlife put on a show while we take in the changing seasons.

It’s not without its labor though. Land requires maintenance.

Planting fruit trees, growing a garden to nourish us and the pollinators, and treating the hemlocks from invasive pests is something we can do not only to leave a legacy for our grandsons and their grandchildren, but also to honor the original inhabitants of this land: the Toqua, Citico, Yuchi, and Cherokee peoples. We are profoundly grateful to the Indigenous peoples who cared for this land before colonization and feel privileged to be here every day.

We aim to be deserving guardians.

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