I just read an article about climate change in New York Magazine by David Wallace-Wells. He begins like this; “It is, I promise, worse than you think.” And then he goes on for what must be pages of dire predictions and doesn’t let up, not even for a second. I got about a third of the way through the piece, hyperventilating in my chair until I couldn’t stand to read one more devastating scenario. I quickly scrolled to the bottom, hoping for a light, a ray of sunshine, a rainbow. Something. Anything. But Wallace-Wells did not deliver one iota of hope. Instead each succeeding paragraph became bleaker, grimmer and darker.
I sat there, staring at the computer screen for a few minutes. I could hear the beans boiling on the stove in the kitchen, but I didn’t move to turn them off. Maybe I’ll take a nap, I thought, or read my email. Still I didn’t move. Am I in shock? What a dupe I’ve been, thinking I could actually slow this lumbering beast.
Breathe, I commanded myself. Breathe.
We all have our ways of coping. Some ignore and deny. Some throw up their hands and say, oh well, it is what it is. Some go shopping. And some try to fix. Not one better than any of the others. Just different.
I fall into the fix category. (Big surprise, right!)
I am a baby boomer, first child, white, upper middle class, arrogant American—steeped in the belief that in the end, everything turns out for the best, where all problems can be solved, where there are no shadows, only light.
Even if David What’s His Name Wallace-Wells is right, even if it is one hundred times bleaker than I could ever imagine, I can’t stop believing we can turn this thing around. It is not in my nature to throw in the towel, go to the beach, send up the white flag in surrender. It is not in my nature to turn my head. Not now anyway. Not yet.
I don’t know, it may come to that. It may become so obvious that we’ve lost this one, that there’s nothing to do but sit on the deck of the ship and listen to the violins play, to watch one last sunset, to say we gave it our best shot.
But until that day comes, it is, I promise, worth the fight.