My last blog post, “I’m Resigning,” was my first stab at trying to make sense of things. If you read it and walked away a little flummoxed, you weren’t alone. I felt the same way! I write to untangle the chaos in my head but I don’t always get it right the first time. So I gave it another shot, here’s what emerged.
I have been on a climate change soapbox for the past ten plus years. The deeper I dove into the science, politics, and psychology, the more identified I became with the cause, until I began to refer to myself as a Climate Change Warrior, ready to do battle with everyone. I talked to deniers, apathetic bystanders, and finger pointing believers. I talked to people who said we might as well throw in the towel and others who said we can’t ever give up hope. I forged ahead, against all odds, as a warrior does.
I became synonymous with climate change. When it came up in conversation, faces turned in my direction, as if to say, “they’re talking about you, this is your baby.” But as long as climate change was ‘my’ issue, it let other people off the hook.
I don’t know exactly when things began to shift for me. I got lonely on my soapbox, like I was some kind of super hero, my cape flapping in the breeze. The moniker, Climate Change Warrior, started to weigh on me. It felt aggressive and combative.
I needed a breather, an attitude adjustment. I thought I needed to resign. But in that last two weeks, I’ve talked and listened and written and rewritten and discovered that I don’t want to resign, but I do need to step down from my soapbox.
I am not climate change. It is not my life. It is not my everything. I don’t want to look in the mirror and see myself as a cause.
Instead of resigning, I’m reimagining. I am still working to reverse climate change, not as a warrior, but as a gentle, unrelenting force, who gives and gathers strength from those all around me. And rather than all eyes focused on me when the conversation turns to climate change, we look to one another and say, “This belongs to all of us. We’ve got this.”