On a personal note, this will be my third Father’s Day without my Dad. Father’s Day would forever take on a new meaning for me after September 2015, when my father’s brutal fight with metastatic throat cancer finally ended. I have shared my thoughts on ClimateMama and in other online communities on the intersectionality of struggling with climate change and fighting metastatic cancer, you can read them at your leisure. I just want to take this moment, in our 2018 Father’s Day post, to share my thanks to my dad who was my biggest champion, my hero and my fiercest supported. My dad constantly cheered me on as I travelled along my journey of discovery, exploration and learning and as my climate education evolved.
Living in Alberta, Canada (where I grew up and where my father spent his entire life) everyone seems connected in one way or another to the oil and gas industry and as such, the immediacy of the climate crisis often get’s discounted or pushed aside. It’s not that the reality gets challenged, although sometimes it does, its more that the impacts are less understood and I think feel less direct, therefore actions to address the causes seem less important. During the last 5 years of my fathers life, well into his seventies, my “forever entrepreneur dad” bought a company that he resurrected and transformed into one that would make a “better and safer coating” for pipelines, including those connected to the oil sands.
Throughout his journey, my dad often told me, in not always the most direct ways, how much I was teaching him. He encouraged me in my work, proudly told others about my exploits and made me feel powerful and loved. He regularly reminded me, when I was feeling down, that what I was devoting my life to is so very important. He listened and he learned, and I learned along the way too. I too learned how complicated it can be to act on climate, even when one understands the urgency and the need. Connecting the dots is often blurred and can be difficult, even with your own guide. I have become more cognizant of this fact over the years and regularly look for ways to help people look for and make connections.
At ClimateMama we regularly share stories about YOU – our Climate Papas and Mamas – and find ways whenever we can to champion your stories and exploits and help you and others see and feel supported, understood and appreciated! This Father’s Day, we wanted to send out a special welcome to Ben Block, founder of Climate Dads, a new “kid on the block” in the climate parent space.
We were introduced to Ben and Climate Dads recently by our dear friends and partners at Dear Tomorrow. In honor of Father’s Day, they are collecting stories from fathers around the country. There have been many letters shared already, and the collections continue well past Fathers Day; consider sharing your own letter and suggesting to one of your special Climate Papas to share one of his own too. There are many heartfelt and powerful letters shared, please take some time to read them. One in particular that touched us deeply was written by our friend and Climate Reality colleague Jim Poyser, founder of Earth Charter Indiana. Jim wrote a letter to his grand-daughter Ezmae that included the following message:
“I will commit to not giving up, not going dark, not being overtaken by the demons of dread and regret. Because of you. Because of you I will continue to spend all my time on solutions. Because of you I will smile through this work, and model your joyful, hilarious nature in that work, so that others may feel that joy, that hopefulness, that sense of possibility.” Jim Poyser, Fathers Day 2018.
We will be guided by your strong words Jim… “Because of You”..and we will not give up. Our children deserve our full support as we feel our way forward through the darkness, and to the light on the other side.
Special Father’s Day wishes to Jim and to Ben, and of course to all our amazing Climate Papas!