Several years ago, a dear (white) friend told me that he was exploring his own racist thoughts, beliefs and actions. I waved him away—‘that’s great, not really my cause, so glad you’re doing it.’ I used the word Cause, as though human beings were some kind of project to be assembled or a banner to be waved.
In the midst of my climate despair, my sister was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. When she died three months later something inside me cracked. I was all grief. I couldn’t take another climate step.
I wanted to wrap that young girl in my arms, hold her tight against so much uncertainty and destruction. But there was nothing I could think to say to soothe her soul, nothing that wasn’t a lie.
The little voice in my head returned, snarky and filled with accusation. ‘Step aside. Give someone else a chance. You’ve had your time.’ It was true—how delicious would it be to watch a twenty-something step up to the plate!
The political strategist Frank Luntz, wrote a confidential memo to the Republican Party in 2003 and advised them to replace the phrase “global warming” with the less threatening, more benign expression, “climate change.”