At the end of October, my sister Eliana was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The surgeon met me in the recovery room post biopsy, took my hand, looked into my eyes and said…
It was quiet in my growing up house. We closed the front door with silent deliberation and spoke to one another in soft tones. My parents didn’t raise their voices, either in anger or delight. We kept our feelings of fear, grief, sadness, even joy, corseted close, as if their release would tip the earth from her axis. Tears happened in muffled sobs in the corner of a bedroom. There was no room for anger.
Mary Robinson, the first female President of Ireland and Maeve Higgins, an Irish comic based in New York City have a brand-new podcast called Mothers of Invention (it was Mary’s idea, even though she didn’t know what a podcast was. Can I call her “Mary”? Somehow it doesn’t seem right…okay fine–“President Robinson”). They are talking to amazing women all over the world who are driving solutions for climate change.
I call myself a ‘climate change warrior.’ I’ve been talking about and taking action around climate change for the past eight years. I know more about the science of climate change, am more familiar with dire predictions and have had more climate conversations with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle than many people—but in the end, I had nothing to say to my friend.
It was 1985, I was thirty-five, a new volunteer with RESULTS, an advocacy organization committed to ending hunger and poverty. I jumped in feet first, determined to make a difference, though I knew nothing about poverty, Congress or how a bill was passed. Something I couldn’t name was driving me to be a change agent in the world.