On this historic day, November 3, 2020, I reflect, hold my breath and also breath with confidence – believing with all my heart that America will do right by our children, our planet and ourselves.
To help pass this day, I share with you some excerpts from my book, “How to Talk to Your Kids About Climate Change, Turning Angst into Action.” The book was released by New Society Publishers in May 2020, and finalized in early January. Rereading what I wrote brings me comfort and also helps remind me that we move forward in giant leaps, and one step at a time. I hope it brings you comfort too.
Your Climate Mama, Harriet
When casting your vote, do so with the intent of showing your children, your country and the world that you completely and utterly repudiate hate and lies and that you stand up for science and for the truth. There is no room for complacency, and no time to prop up elected officials who do not take the crisis at hand with the urgency of action that is required. It is often hard to connect the deliberate and singularly focused act of voting with the urgency of our times. But you must remain conscious of the importance of each and every vote, even if it seems like only one small step. Do not allow yourself to be stuck, frozen, or paralyzed, or to feel so much disappointment or disgust with the system and those running it, that you do not vote. Remind your children of this as well. They may seem young, and far away from voting age, but the importance of casting a vote is developed at an early age. Since the beginning of the 21st century, young people are no longer voting in high numbers in the United States and in many other countries around the world. This must change; the present and future requires it.
I have come to the realization and acceptance—through life experience, through the passage of time, and through the joys of birth and the sorrows of death—that our lives truly are fleeting. This fact remains both vividly transparent and at the same time deeply hidden to most of us. Knowing and understanding that, in reality, our walk on this planet is but a blink of an eye makes it doubly hard to accept and acknowledge that we are living in and have helped create, the Anthropocene. We are now at a point where those of us alive today, at the start of the 21st century, have the ability in very real and concrete ways to impact the future existence of our entire species and of many other species alive today. This fact is truly mind blowing; it is weighty and complicated and also incredibly challenging and burdensome to get our arms and minds around. Yet, we must.
One of my primary goals in writing this book is my enduring hope that it will fortify and strengthen your hopes and your resolve. Our shared belief in a positive future, coupled with constant and forward motion will sustain us as we build a livable present and future for our children and for us. We must trust in one another, in our indomitable will to preserve our species as we claim our survival. We must be open to and accept that transformations will happen. Changes will occur—changes that we currently may not yet be able to truly visualize. We must trust in these changes; they are required.
We must also visualize the future we want. Confident and optimistic that by helping this future unfold we will ensure that our children can and will live their fullest lives We must approach this with exuberance and with active, intrinsic, and radical hope, as well as with positive and directed purpose actualized through our actions and our voices. As 15 year old Autumn Peltier told the United Nations in September 2019: “One day I will be an ancestor and I want my descendants to know I used my voice so that they could have a future.”
For those of us 18 years and older, who have the right to vote in the USA, join me as we reaffirm for Autumn Peltier, and all of those too young to vote, that we are using our VOTE for them, for their future and their now.