Living with Despair for our Planet

How do we live with the knowledge that our planet may not be livable for our grandchildren? This is a grief too big to hold.

It has been several years since I have written on this blog. I got into a job that was all consuming. I was dealing with young staff, political leaders, and several passionate volunteers. I was writing blogs, op-eds, press releases, and reports. There was no end to the work. I was always responding to e-mails, reading, writing, and communicating on social media. There was so much potential to influence public opinion and public policies. It was exciting, compelling, and satisfying. It was never-ending and exhausting.

I left that job feeling burnt out. Today, a few years later, I have an income again. I am doing work that I find interesting. I think it is important work; useful work. But it is quieter. My schedule is now in my control. While I am still working full-time, I work fewer hours and when I choose to. I am no longer juggling 20 tasks at once. I am no longer fielding requests from 5 different directions. I can take time to chat with people. I can focus on one task at a time.

But now I am struggling with the state of the world on my own. I am no longer part of an organization that has influence. I no longer feel like I am spending my time doing work that might bring us back from the brink of disaster. And so, like many other people, I must feel the weight of what we humans have wrought on the world and upon our selves.

Working on issues related to climate change, I know what the experts are saying. I know that we are running out of time to save ourselves; to provide our children and grand-children with a livable plane. I know that it is possible that we have already run out of time.

I look at the state of politics, journalism and social media in my country and I despair. How do we transform our economy to prevent catastrophic climate change when we cannot even get people to wear masks to slow a pandemic?

I am back on here – on my anonymous blog – because I need to express these feelings. I need to write the words. I need to acknowledge my terror, my grief, and my despair. I feel I cannot do it anywhere else. People don’t want to hear it. People know what is happening but they cannot bear to look at it. We choose denial so we can keep on living with some semblance of sanity.

In my work, I focus on good news stories – the new technologies being developed, the changing economic realities for renewable energies, and the organizations that are doing great work to create sustainable communities. I do this because we need to believe that change is possible. We need to feel hope. And there are many days when these stories give me hope for the future.

But we are walking on a knife’s edge. We have so little time to turn things around and there are powerful forces working against the change that is needed. Forces with so much money, resources, and influence. Organizations that can now shape how people think, So, I am here, writing from my heart, saying what I need to say so I can continue to do the work that I think is necessary; so I can continue to get up each day and see the beauty in the world.

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