“If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” —60’s saying
We received some unexpected guests at our house last night— my sister and husband, her son and girlfriend and two cats. They were ordered to evacuate their homes in Sebastopol due to the raging fires. It’s fun to have them around, but the reason is anything but fun. Pardon my French, but this shit is real!!!
So if you’re a climate change denier, if you’re a supporter of bad people in power who encourage denial, if you’re sitting on the sidelines thinking that this is an optional issue to get involved in, well, shame on you for selling our children’s future down the river, that is either flooding or aflame from oil spills. And needless to say, if you’re one of the folks involved in the corporations that profit from excessive squandering of precious resources, I believe there will be a special California section for you in Hell, where the fires are constantly raging and there’s no place to evacuate to. (And don’t talk to me about dangling prepositions when the world is on fire!)
How I would love to live in the Leave It to Beaver world where kids chewing gum in school or sneaking some candy from the pantry is the big issue of the day. But this habit of living in Beaver’s dream world when the black kids in the next town are suffering from minds poisoned by hatred and systems set up to fan those flames has long felt unacceptable to me. Those privileged white folks who thought they could just say, “I’m not into politics. Let’s all just get along” finally are starting to wake up to the terror that is knocking on their door. Climate change doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you’re Democrat or Republican, rich or poor, black or white, male, female or non-binary. On this sinking ship, it is sheer insanity to not embrace every living being in the hope that we can figure something out together.
Friends, there is no neutral. You’re either thinking about this, responding personally and politically, talking about it, imagining together something that offers real hope or you’re contributing to it by doing nothing. I get that no one wants to walk around with the specter of annihilation or feel overpowered by helplessness and that it’s tempting to just enjoy a pleasant evening at home. And you can! And you should! Despair never helped anybody or anything. But find the ground where you can balance business as usual with a needed sense of crisis that needs all of us to respond from the depths of our caring and imagination. And by the way, if you can find that balance, tell us how you did it!!
Here’s one thing that’s sure. Sleepwalking through this will feed its power and its power is real. Waking up and discovering how you can help—and there are a thousand ways beyond rallies and petitions and such—is the first sure step to hope. Let’s get going.