Just When I Thought We Were Making Tracks

In the fall of 2016, Washington State legislature defeated a bill to put a price on carbon. Largely because the left turned on itself. There was name calling, back biting, and an inability to play well together.

Just when I thought we were making tracks. Every time I stretch, I discover there’s more stretch to go. It’s one thing to swallow my pride and listen attentively to people I don’t expect to agree with. In such cases, my expectations are modest and any win is a great stride forward. But my own peeps??? That’s going to take a different kind of courage on my part.

When I first learned that the Pasadena-Foothills chapter of CCL hosted a “Day of Dialogue” with a select group of environmental organizations, I scratched my head. A Day of Dialogue with environmental groups? Isn’t it the Republicans that we’re trying so diligently to bring on board? Haven’t we practiced and practiced our speaking points hoping to find common ground with the right?

Yes and.

Rob Haw, chapter group leader, opened the day by saying, “we’re all after the same objective – decarbonization as soon as possible – although each of our groups has identified a different roadmap for achieving it. Yet that difference shouldn’t set us apart – we’re all travelers on the same road. So let’s not allow the politics of identity to destroy our solidarity. Fellowship, not fissure-ship. Let’s make common cause and mutual support our grounding principles.”

All in all, it was a good day. Not always easy. There was some chest puffing and grandstanding. But it was an invitation for listening. It was the beginning of a dialogue. With the left.

Turns out, people are people. Whether they identify as Democrats or Republicans, whether they identify as men or women. Black or white, yellow or brown. We, all of us, want to be listened to. We want to be heard. We get our feathers ruffled. We have a hard time letting go of being right. Humility is not our strong suit.

But this is where the real work is. Opening our hearts. Again and again and again. This is the hard part. Meeting our dragons. Looking into the abyss. It is the climate hero’s journey. There is always one more mountain, one more dragon to slay, one more tight squeeze to shimmy out of.

 All in all, I’d say it’s worth it.

7 comments on “Just When I Thought We Were Making Tracks

  1. Thanks for articulating this so well. Hearing unexpected left perspective on climate mitigation is hard but on the other hand it makes me realize how narrow a laser focus can be. Still claiming that focus but feeling its pinch is healthy for my soul.

  2. One correction -Washington state had a ballot initiative, not a bill. Regardless, many groups who would like carbon pricing will only support a bill that includes social justice provisions, a nonstarter for Republicans. So yes, leftists can be as hardheaded as the opposite extreme.

  3. Keeping my eye on the end goal is the hardest part of achieving anything. It’s so easy to get side tracked by getting points, getting credit, and the the less savory parts of myself — the side that is easily distracted by blaming someone else. It’s a never-ending process — wake up, remember where I’m heading, point in that direction, and avoid the temptation of complaining about who is getting in my way. Every day is an opportunity for a “Day of Dialogue” with someone.

  4. Thanks. I keep advocating for people to listen to those who disagree with them. If we don’t listen with an open mind, why would they listen to us with an open mind.

    • In the course of this journey I know there will be disjointed views. What makes the struggle harder is the relative autonomy of the states to legislate on these issues. I think this struggle will be better if concentrated at the centre. If the centre legislates,it will have a persuasive effect on the states. It is not over,until it is over. Alluta continua. Regards Davia.

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