Category: Climate Change

If I were an Evangelical pastor talking about Climate Change

I have been considering various Faith Responses to Climate Change. For much of my life I identified as a born-again, Bible-believing, Republican Christian. I then read the Bible not as an ancient text to study but as a holy guidebook for living in the modern world. I sat through thousands of sermons in Fundamentalist, Evangelical, and Pentecostal churches where preachers used the Bible as the authoritative text for our lives.

What if one of my pastors grew alarmed about climate change and the effects greenhouse gases are having on humanity and our future peace and prosperity? What might a sermon look like?

If I think like an Evangelical pastor (NOT like a Bible scholar) I make the following connections based on a verse from the book of Numbers:

The Lord is longsuffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.   (Numbers 14:18.)

The belief that the consequences of sinful actions from a previous generation can plague the current and future generations comes up multiple times in scripture–both Old and New Testaments. Many people can see this when we hear of a father burning through the family’s savings with his gambling or drinking. Not only are there financial consequences, but the turmoil in the home can leave lasting scars. Something someone does in our past can affect us in the present, and the harm left unaddressed, may get passed on to our children who will have to deal with it in their lives.

Zulu Village

God created a beautifully designed system where carbon dioxide is naturally released into the atmosphere by our own breathing as well as through decaying trees and decomposing animals.  This carbon dioxide helps keep the earth warm and full of life. Through living trees, plants and the oceans that cover the earth, the carbon dioxide is new absorbed and transformed and provides more life. The process of releasing and transforming a CO2 particle can take one hundred years–generations.

But God’s once perfect system has become overtaxed through pollution. While our ancestors did not understand the impact burning greenhouse gases would have on their offspring, today we know what will happen if we do not stop and address this problem. Looking at the warning in Numbers 14 that the sins of the parents fall on the heads of the children for generations, we see a direct application to the greenhouse gases trapped and stockpiling over our heads, poisoning the seas and warming the planet, altering natural weather patterns, causing drought, floods, and suffering for the people of the earth in the USA and beyond. Greenhouse gases released by humans have clogged the earth’s renewal process, something that will take generations to resolve. Here we see a perfect example of the cycle of parental/child sin and consequence–a generational curse.

The proper response? Repentance. Turn from the harmful behavior and start anew in a new direction, one that will bring blessing and not a curse to our children for generations to come. We have the power to bless our offspring for generations if we repent from polluting and clean up the mess that we inherited.

As believers we are required to care for our loved ones:

But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. (1 Timothy 5:8)

The rewards that come to those who obey the call of repentance not only affects our own family, but benefits the nation.

Deuteronomy 28:1-68

And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

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We often think of sin in terms of individual moral failings, but as a nation and as a people we can engage in long-term sinful actions that reap a bitter harvest. Consider the institution of slavery in the United States supported by churches and ministers of the day. We needed to repent of our actions as a nation, and today we need to continue to address the harm caused by racism and inequality. We have been in a process of healing for over 150 years, and we are not done yet.

We do not live on the same planet earth that was created in the book of Genesis. It has changed and bears scars and suffers from a deep sickness that we inadvertently inflicted upon it. We have the confidence that with thorough and thoughtful repentance comes healing.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

Closing the sermon, the minister gives the congregation an opportunity to commit to action:
Deuteronomy 30:19

I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live

The minister then provides practical plans of action: read a particular book or article, join a committee that explores the church’s role on a changing planet, join the Citizens Climate Lobby, and as a member of the congregation, lobby our members of congress. They sing a hymn, perhaps, All Creatures of our God and King, then meet for coffee in the Narthex.

Of course this is just a thought experiment of what an Evangelical sermon on climate might look like. I’d love to hear your thoughts, responses, and ideas in the comment section.

For my next sermon, I will look at a Bible hero who predicted climate change, created a plan that helped deal with the immediate crisis but had unexpected consequences.

Prescott’s Climate Links #3

Over the past three weeks Prescott has stuffed my inbox with over 50 articles climate related articles. I have selected just three for you to read. This curated list of climate related articles are specially chosen to give hope and direction as we see the world changing around us.

Three Climate Links

The Brat is Back! No doubt you have been hearing speculation about how bad the next El Niño cycle will be. Samantha Larson at Grist offers a simple to understand tutorial about the whole thing replete with cute stick figures and a video.

Everything you need to know about El Niño–and More

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When someone has proposed legislative action to address climate change (Carbon Tax, etc) immediately the cries of “JOB KILLER!” rises from the collective heap of do-nothing  but moan politicians. Turns out addressing climate change will NOT harm the economy.

Hunter Stuart at Huffington Post writes: No, Cutting Carbon Emissions Won’t Ruin the Economy. If this topic is interesting to you, also check out the new REMI study results that outline the positive economic impact in the USA of a Carbon fee and dividend.

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Audrey Quinn has created an engaging comic about Climate Change in the Muslim world. Facing Serious Climate Impacts, some Muslims put their faith in going green.

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Out of Africa: Friendship & Climate Change

I just returned from a two week trip to South Africa. Glen Retief, my partner, and I took a group of Susquehanna University students on a cultural immersion tour of South Africa in Kwazulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Venda, and Gauteng provinces. We mostly did home stays in rural villages and in the township of Alexandra where we lived with families, hung out, and got to know them.

It was part of the course Travel Writing in South Africa, and was made all the richer because Glen is from South Africa and has spent a lot of time researching and writing about his experiences and South African history.

Because of the deep community ties they have from their work in South Africa, our tour organizers, Nettie and Cedric de la Harpe, helped us to get beyond simply being tourists to enter a real world of travel and immersion. The local communities received the money we would have spent at backpackers and restaurants, and the cultural exchanges seemed to flow back and forth in both directions. At many points both the South Africans and our students took out their cell phones and took selfies with each other or got up to swap dance moves.

For those two weeks we lived simply–sleeping on dung floors, taking baths in little basins, taking care of our business in a bucket or a field or a “long drop” outhouse, and living off the grid without electricity and internet for days at a time. We settled into a place of being present–sitting, talking, listening, feeling. image

We talked a lot about weather. Mpumalanga Province recently experienced severe flooding like they never encountered before. Major roads were wiped out, which forced us to take a longer, pothole ridden route north through Swaziland. When we drove through Kruger Park on our way to Venda Province, we learned that thousands of trees and important scrubs along rivers had been washed away leaving a barrenness that has driven animals to other parts of the park to seek food and shelter. At the villages where we stayed, the farmers I spoke with raised concerns about how the climate is changing.

Like most places in the world, Southern Africa is expected to face more extreme weather, longer summers, along with water and food scarcity. With these changes come increased pain and suffering for the people living there. I imagine they also will continue to demonstrate ingenuity and determination in facing their challenges.
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The changes are not all about the science of climate change; on the ground changes mean harder lives for subsistent farmers–often women, and for women and children who collect water. Our friends and host families will face an increase of pests and diseases, and more demand for limited resources with a growing influx of immigrants that may lead to conflict.

Throughout our trip I was continually reminded of oppression that people experience based on class often along race lines. The rich will fair better as the climate changes–both rich nations and rich individuals have more resources to adapt and protect their lifestyles. Like the many posh dwellings we passed in Pretoria and the suburbs of Johannesburg, fortified with high walls and razor wire, the rich will barricaded themselves and protect their stores as the climate and civilization changes all around them.

I wonder about the many ways my head and heart are fortified from seeing and feeling the disparity in the world, the growing risks, and my role on this changing planet. It helps to live simply for a time, to live off the grid, and sit with folks whose lives are very different from mine but who share many of the same values, hopes, fears, and desires.

Prescott’s Climate Links #2

Prescott has been busy finding links about Climate Change for us. Below are three links. The first two are definitely scary, but offer some direction for how to respond. The third shows a community creatively (and cheaply) adapting.

But first:

A college that hosts an annual talk to highlight the seriousness of climate change recently rejected our proposal to present, Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat? In his rejection email, the scholar organizing the climate event stated:

The performance you describe is not the sort of thing we want to do. The goal of our climate change series is to get everyone’s attention to the seriousness of the situation and I wouldn’t want to introduce what you’re calling a “human rights” perspective at this time.

(Try reading it aloud with a posh British accent)
I understand that comic queer performance art is not everyone’s bag, and he likely doesn’t understand exactly what I do to help my audience grasp the seriousness of the issues I present to them, but what I found close minded in his response was the refusal to include a human rights lens to climate change. This is not just about weather or the extinction of species–huge serious stuff I know–it’s about people, humanity, society, civilization.

Three Climate Links

Nasa Study Concludes when Civilization will End, and it’s Not Looking Good for Us Hold onto your seats as you read the following article.

Civilization was pretty great while it lasted, wasn’t it? Too bad it’s not going to for much longer. According to a new study sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, we only have a few decades left before everything we know and hold dear collapses.

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The worst-case scenarios predicted by Motesharrei are pretty dire, involving sudden collapse due to famine or a drawn-out breakdown of society due to the over-consumption of natural resources. The best-case scenario involves recognition of the looming catastrophe by Elites and a more equitable restructuring of society, but who really believes that is going to happen? Here’s what the study recommends…
-FilmsForAction.org by Tom McKay

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U.S. Climate Has Already Changed, Study Finds, Citiing Heat and Floods It’s here. It’s Queer how it is happening. It’s Climate Change in the USA.

The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.
-NY Times by Justin Gillis

See the map
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Mexico Experiments with Adapting to Climate Change Naturally–and on the Cheap Mexico and Central America have already been hard hit by storms, soil erosion, and other effects of climate change. Here’s an example of an effective local response to climate change.

Hernandez acknowledges, sure, the government, NGOs and others working here could build expensive things like levees and concrete walls to keep potentially vulnerable communities safer, but The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with local NGOs, wants to show that an ounce of natural prevention can go a long way to improve the region’s resilience to climate change.
-PRI.org by Jason Margolis

Prescott’s Climate Links #1

Welcome to a NEW regular feature of this blog–Prescott’s Climate Links. Prescott Allen Hazelton is a team member focusing primarily (but not exclusively) on climate change related topics. In addition to providing us links to the most current news on climate change, he also keeps his eyes open for any climate action news that also ties in LGBTQ issues, environmental justice, and faith communities.

Of the scores of links that Prescott sends me weekly (he is a busy bee) I select a handful of what I think are the most important and interesting. Hopefully the curated content will help in your own learning. And it will not be all gloom and doom. While it is important that we honestly face the serious of the current climate before us, we also need to remind ourselves that it is not hopeless. There is still time and there are lots of  people seeking solutions to stave off the crisis and to adapt as it worsens.

Three Climate Links

Americans are Outliers when it Comes to Climate Change This article also has a great graph that reveals that Great Britain and Canada are not far behind Americans in our lack of concern about climate change. Discover which world citizens are most concerned about the climate crisis.

As President Obama sets out to convince the public that climate change requires immediate attention, he has his work cut out for him.
New York Times by Megan Thee-Brenan

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The Change Within: The Obstacles we Face are not just External This is an excellent, thoughtful, insightful, informed, and inspiring essay which is also beautifully written. I suggest a cup of tea, a quiet space, and ten minutes to read and reflect.

Another part of what makes climate change so very difficult for us to grasp is that ours is a culture of the perpetual present, one that deliberately severs itself from the past that created us as well as the future we are shaping with our actions. Climate change is about how what we did generations in the past will inescapably affect not just the present, but generations in the future. These time frames are a language that has become foreign to most of us.
popularresistance.org by Naomi Klein

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Using Weather to Deliver a Climate Change Message Meteorologists are among the most trusted sources in the news business, yet many have been climate deniers. This is changing.

Jim Gandy is the chief meteorologist on WLTX in Columbia, S.C., and makes a point of incorporating links between bad weather and climate change into his daily broadcasts.

“In Columbia, the only thing that separates us from hell in the summertime is a screen door,’’ he said in an interview. “And all of the climate models indicate that it’s going to get worse if we don’t do something about it.”
New York Times by Coral Davenport

My Pastor Didn’t Warn Me About This–Sin and Repentance on a New Planet

As a young adult, I attended the Times Square Church in New York City with the fire-and-brimstone-preaching minister, David Wilkerson. Brother Dave authored the famous book The Cross and the Switchblade made even more famous with its film staring Pat Boone as David Wilkerson, and a hunky underwear-clad Eric Estrada as gang member Nicky Cruz.

Brother Dave presented himself an Old Testament Prophet cross-bred with a Colonial Puritan pastor in modern garb and big thick 1980s-style glasses. Several times a week he stood at the pulpit to remind us that the USA was going to hell in a hand basket because of our iniquities–these included abortion, divorce, sex on TV, secular humanism, and of course homosexuality. As a result, an angry God was going to rain down vengeance on us in the form of economic distress, weather disasters, and naked dancing in the church (no joke.)

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Time Square Church

Since 1973 Brother Dave issued his dire warnings often using fire imagery to get his point across. His last major prophecy in 2009 uttered shortly before he retired, moved back to Waco, TX, and then tragically swerved died in a head on collision with a tractor trailer truck, speaks of fires and violence in New York City.

An Earth-Shattering Calamity is About to happen. It is going to be so frighting. We are all going to Tremble, even the godliest among us.

For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago in August, 1965. There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting — including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath

I sat under a steady diet of these types of messages including warnings of marauding gangs of homosexuals prowling the streets looking for young prey (which sounded more like what we did during our street evangelism outreaches and abortion clinic protests than anything I witnessed in any gayborhood.)

Yet with all these warnings of sins and consequences, I do not remember Brother Dave speaking out against our flamboyant, impure fossil-fuel lifestyle that has brought about dire consequences for God’s creation and all life on the planet. While he warned of increasing floods, tornados, hurricanes, and earthquakes, his prophecies never spoke of the natural consequence from overloading the atmosphere with greenhouse gases warming the planet leading to a disruption in ecological harmony. The sin was almost always sex, and the result was God’s wrath with lots of fire.

While he missed the details of how Earth-Shattering Calamity was about to happen, he no doubt felt something big coming. Pastor Dave highlighted an important principle of cause and effect, sin and consequence, indulgence and the resulting pain. Recently I wrote about Generational Curses, something Pastor Dave stressed often–how the sins of the parents will live on in their ancestors up to the seventh generation. What a fitting metaphor for exactly what has happened on the planet for the past 150 years as our ancestors stockpiled greenhouse gases in the atmosphere delivering a crushing blow on us their children and grandchildren. Like many addictions, the fossil-fuel addiction cycle continues, so that we add to the buildup started by our ancestors leading to genuine end-of-the-world scenarios.

Brother Dave ended each sermon with an altar call–Repent. Turn away from your filthy deeds. Start Anew. It is not yet too late. Again fitting words for the current crisis we have inherited. It is not yet too late to find solutions, to radically reduce our fossil fuel emissions, but as Pastor Dave often reminded us, individual repentance is not enough. We need revival–the nation and all nations turning to something new and leaving off the old.

 

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Where to begin? Check out Citizens Climate Lobby to learn about a grassroots effort to lobby for a carbon fee and dividend, what I see as the most elegant and effective solution to curb our consumption of fossil fuels while providing a means to energize the economy and look after the energy needs of  working class and poor people.

From Homo No Mo and Beyond–Web Launch!

Back in October 2002 I sat in my tiny apartment in Hartford, CT considering a play I had in mind which would reveal to the world the 17 years I spent receiving gay conversion therapy and especially the two horrible years I endured the notorious Love in Action ex-gay residential program in Memphis, TN.

I did not feel I had to speak out, but that it was an option if I wanted. I also sensed that I was looking at a five year commitment. As I sat in my room, I said yes, I would produce the play and walk down that path. Almost immediately and over the next six months, ideas came to me about how to create the work, how to present it, how to pitch it, how to promote it. It was like a vast file was downloaded into my mental hard drive.

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Peterson officially comes out of the closet in January 1999

In February 2003 in Memphis, TN I premiered, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House, then spent the next five years traveling through North America, Europe, and Africa telling my story and connecting with others to learn about their experiences. With the help of my friend, Christine Bakke, a fellow ex-gay survivor, we launched the Ex-Gay Survivor Movement

Then in 2008 five years was up. We had accomplished so much in that time, and I felt released from the work while also sensing a leading to new work, particularly a need to address the oppression against trans* people at the hands of gays and lesbians and by churches. This led to the creation of Transfigurations–Transgressing Gender in the Bible, a blend of performance and scholarship that looks at non-conforming gender outlaws in the Bible.

Art by Mila and Jayna Ponder

Again I felt like I knew what steps to take to let the public know about the work. I understood I needed to get to seminaries and places of worship–Christian, Jewish, and Muslim–to share some good news about gender non-conformists in the Bible who stand as the most important characters in some of the Bible’s most important stories. For the past six years I have been doing this work, and I expect I will carry on doing it. This summer I will finally film the play and then have it available for distribution.

But something new started up for me a little over a year ago. After reading, listening, and having some long teary conversations with my husband, Glen Retief, I became alarmed about the reality of Climate Change and what it means for us as a civilization. I understood that I wanted and needed to respond to the growing crisis in the only way I knew how–with art.

I have spent the last year researching climate change and how to communicate effectively about it. I am creating a new play, Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat? A Comedy about Broken Bodies–Large and Small, which will premiere in the early fall (Details TBA).

Decked out in Eco-Drag, wonders, "What Would Walt Whitman Do?"

Decked out in Eco-Drag, wonders, “What Would Walt Whitman Do?”

As I ask questions like, What is a Queer Response to Climate Change? What role will you take on a new planet? How will churches and other places of worship refashion themselves to be relevant in a new climate? I also have gained insights into how to get this work out to the wider world.

So I have pulled together a dream team who have partnered with me to advise, contribute, reach out, and create with me. Over the next few weeks I’ll introduce you to the various team members. And today I launch my new and improve website replete with new presentations as well as tried and true performances. A podcast is in the work and lots of social media. My hope is to create a hub where we can talk about climate change as a queer issues, a pastoral care issue, a human rights issue, and as a community issue. There is so much we can do and so much we will do to face this crisis with creativity, wisdom, and love.

Welcome to the new site. It’s good to be back!

(Original art by Kevin Miller)

Does this Climate Change Activism Make Me Look Straight??

Sometimes I feel like the only Climate Gay in the Village. Sure there are LGBTQ folks concerned with accessorizing their carbon footprints and buying trendy eco-friendly products, but when it comes to climate change, it seems most of us live on another planet

No doubt we have been preoccupied with fighting for our recognition in a world that treated us like toxic waste. Not that long ago whenever a major weather catastrophe hit, Christian ministers lined up on TV to declare that homosexuals magically stirred up the waters. That or they proclaimed we incurred the wrath of a God who seemed far more concerned with butt action at a New Orleans bath house over the weekend than to what we have been spewing out of our chimneys into the atmosphere for the past 100 years.

Yes, we have been distracted with a protracted fight for our basic rights and protections. Today many LGBTQ people throughout the developing world face severe, consistent, cruel discrimination, and a dismal lack of basic rights. This is also very true for trans* people in North America and Europe. Sure we can say that for some of us in the LGBTQ Rainbow Collective that “It Gets Better,” but we all know there is work to do.

So who has time or energy for climate change?? We are busy fighting for our rights or with caterers over the perfect gay wedding.

We are in a funny time in history, a time when LGBTQ people in the developed world have more rights and protections than ever before. We also live in a time in which we have altered the chemistry of the planet to such an extreme extent that if we don’t act immediately to stop the insanity, we are looking at a dire, perhaps impossible future. Great, I can get gay married just in time for the end of the world. The worse part is that me and my “gay lifestyle will likely get blamed for it! (As opposed to our fossil fuel lifestyle and overpopulation of the planet.)

For me there is something decidedly queer about Climate Change, yet when I attend Citizen Climate Lobby meetings and Climate Rallies, I feel I am swimming in a sea of white, gender-normative, heterosexuals. Nice people, but we need over voices from other rooms.

I am a climate queer actively looking to develop Queer Responses to Climate Change? What about you? What might those responses look like?

Anti-Fear Messaging: A Queer Response to Climate Change

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Studies show that scaring the shit out of people does not work.  In fact, fear tactics may even encourage the denial of climate change in those scared shitless. Reading a piece in the New York Times, Global Warming Fear Tactics, I was reminded yet again that when talking about Climate Change, one must not lead with the dire doom and gloom dangerous end-of-the-world  scenarios.

“Although shocking, catastrophic, and large-scale representations of the impacts of climate change may well act as an initial hook for people’s attention and concern,” the researchers wrote, “they clearly do not motivate a sense of personal engagement with the issue and indeed may act to trigger barriers to engagement such as denial.” In a controlled laboratory experiment published in Psychological Science in 2010, researchers were able to use “dire messages” about global warming to increase skepticism about the problem.

Over the past year I have been musing over a query that at first seemed to only make sense to me, but as I explored it and  shared my thoughts with others, they too began to see the point. I wondered, What is a Queer Response to Climate Change?

I know that many see Climate Change as a scientific issue and a policy issue. In many ways it has become a political issue drawn by party lines (although there are still Democrats silent on the issue or deniers themselves.)

But I see Climate Change as a Human Rights issue and one that requires a great deal of imagination, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking. For those reasons and more I see that transgender, bisexual, queer, lesbian, gay, and asexual folks are specially situated to address Climate Change and the many issues connected to it.

Over the next year here on this blog, in Climate Stew, my podcast that will be availible in the fall, and in my new play, Does This Apocalypse Make Me Look Fat? I will seek to answer the question, What is a Queer Response to Climate Change? As I do, I will avoid fear-based language as much as possible. Fear shuts down the brain, while hope and solutions opens us hearts and minds.

So What thoughts do you have? What might be a Queer response to Climate Change?

Facing the Unimaginable

At first I could not comprehend that my mom was actually dying. None of us did. She was never sick before, always the strong one taking care of all of us. Some realities are too big to grasp. Once we did understand what was happening though, my father, my sisters, and I found inner reserves of strength, courage, creativity, and caring we did not know we possessed. We became her primary caregivers. It was difficult and painful, but also a great honor to do all that we could to help her when she needed us most.

From that time I learned lessons that I remembered six years later when our father was sick and dying. I recognized sooner this time the crisis that we faced, the seriousness of the situation, the reality that this illness might end in death. And sadly it did. I miss both my parents terribly everyday, but I feel grateful that my sisters and I were able to understand the diagnosis, and that we did not pretend. We accepted the reality that a great change was happening in our lives. Pretending everything will be fine or that it will just go away or that surely technology will fix it for us would have kept us aloof, unavailable, unengaged when our parents needed us to be most alert and active.

For the past year since my father’s death, I have been researching climate change and the rapid deterioration of the atmosphere and the oceans resulting in recurring severe weather events, drought, floods, the extinction and the threat of extinction to some animals and plants, and already the disruption of human lives and even loss of lives. These days I am drawing once again from those inner reserves I discovered during the times my parents were so ill. I have been looking at the diagnosis regarding the planet, and the prognosis is currently grim, not yet hopeless, but dire all the same.

Climate Change to me is very much like living with a seriously ill parent. The reality of a sick planet is almost too great to take in. The earth seems too big to fail. It’s easier to assume all will be okay and to escape into Facebook or the latest YouTube craze or Tweet my way to distraction. But right now I’m beginning to understand that my attention is required. While it is a difficult reality to grasp, I accept that the climate has already changed and will continue to change. As we face these facts, we will find the strength and the will to act. We will have the great honor to help when we are needed most.

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