PeerSpirit Newsletter – The Owl and the Tree
Dear Friends of PeerSpirit,
Given the dire news about global climate change – bigger and more deadly forest fires, stronger storms and hurricanes, the melting of glaciers and permafrost in the Arctic, and the loss of nearly 3 billion birds from North America since 1970, it’s easy to feel helpless and discouraged. Fortunately there is still hope – and much of it resides in the passion and energy of the younger generation.
Young Climate Activists and Two Grandmas
On the morning of Friday September 20, we joined about 150 islanders in a mix of grey-haired steadfastness and teenage enthusiasm marching several blocks through town from the local branches of Wells Fargo Bank to Chase Bank – the two financial corporations most deeply investing in the fossil fuels industry. We olders followed the youngers, being allies who can “show up and step back,” allowing a new generation of voices to speak and lead. We listened to speeches from local South Whidbey High School students, including two of the organizers of the recent Friday for Future youth climate strikes in Freeland, Washington.
One of the most visible of these young leaders is sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden who a year ago sat alone in front of her Parliament offices in Stockholm, and has inspired hundreds of thousands of other young people to rise up in a clarion call to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and their greenhouse effect on earth’s temperatures. Since arriving in North America (via sailboat!) in the fall of 2019 she has met with former U.S. President Barack Obama, Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau, and her impassioned speech to the United Nations made us weep.
Isra Hirsi, 16
Autumn Peltier, 15
Bruno Rodriguez, 19
Helena Gualinga, 17
Mari Copeny, 12
This moment requires multi-generational action. The youngers are doing their job as awakeners. We olders need to join them on the streets and then work together to influence change in the halls of city governments, county commissioners, tribal governing councils, state legislatures, and national government meetings! We need their forthright courage; they need our experience and protection. And most of all: we need each other.
We need to step together into an era of shift beyond anything we (in the comfortable western nations) have experienced. We need to break our patterns of consumerism and comfort and exercise our power. Change like this rises from the bottom up, from the young to the old, from the disempowered to the powerful. The people, together.
Who is leading the climate efforts in your local community? How are you helping? Or how can you help?