Written by Natasha Juliana – April 18, 2019
Last weekend, we drove down the Sacramento River along the delta, on top of the levees. (Yes – in a fossil fuel-powered Prius – ugh!) The route was beautiful this time of year and I spent my time looking out the window in wonder. (Don’t worry – Matt was driving.)
At first, I was struck by how precariously situated the small towns and farms were. From the road on top of the levee, it appeared that the pent-up river was higher than the ground on the other side. A break in the wall would surely spell disaster for the homes, businesses, and farmland stretched out along the valley. How would it feel to live on the other side of that barrier, especially as – inevitably – waters rise and storms intensify?
And then I saw a sight that surprised me. Solar fields laid out in neat row-after-row, farther than I could see. It reminded me of the rows of grapes we marvel at in our vineyards, only to my eye, these were even more beautiful.
From there, we left the river’s edge and drove past Rio Vista, through the rolling hills, dotted with cows. But there was something more majestic than bright green grass and old red barns. There were miles and miles of wind turbines. As I snapped photos through the windshield and marveled at the site, I said to Matt, “I know these windmills look ugly to some people, but to me, this looks like hope.” And he said, “There’s your next blog post.”
After the infamous IPCC report came out last summer, with its grim findings and demanding timeline (reduce global emissions 45% by 2030 and 100% by 2050, or we’re doomed! Good lord!), I felt a lot of despair – which is not an emotion I’m very familiar with. I tend to be a positive, cheery, look-on-the-bright-side kind of person. But the daunting task ahead and the apparent apathy of the world got me more than worried.
As it turned out, facing my fears head-on has been much more comforting than turning a blind eye. I needed hope to jump-start my battery; the world needs hope to kick into high gear. And there is hope out there, if only we look for it. Just think of all the heartwarming stories of communities banding together in times of crisis.
Here is my analogy: Imagine you are in a sinking ship, with your children, your parents, your friends, your neighbors, everyone you love, in there with you. What would you do? Stand around debating? Sit back and take in the view? Or, would you grab the bucket sitting next to you and start bailing? Say there is no bucket next to you, so you need to look around and think outside the box. There’s a pot! Start bailing! What’s that – a box of gum? MacGyver the heck out of that crack in the deck. How about that chair cushion? Shove it under the bow as a makeshift flotation device!
You get the idea. We all need to grab whatever buckets we have and start bailing, together, as fast as we can. The bad news is that climate change affects everything. The good news is that climate change affects everything – so we can all jump in to help from wherever we are already working and living. Since this coworking space is my current place, I’m bailing from here. The crazy thing is, I’m enjoying the climate work I am doing now. (Is that bad to say?) Writing this blog feels good. Working with the Petaluma Climate Action Campaign to pass a city Climate Emergency Resolution feels good. Showing more movies and inviting more speakers to WORK feels good. Sheesh – I’m sounding very hedonistic here, but it’s true. A few months ago, I couldn’t sleep because I was anxious. Now, I can’t sleep because I’m excited!
So, here’s another goal I’ve just at this moment added: To write this blog regularly as a beacon of hope, a way to share positive stories of progress – inspiring more bailing by highlighting the bailing already going on. Hope begets hope. Action begets action.
Find your hope! Find your action! And join us as we save our ship!
Big thanks to my editor and friend, Linda Jay, for always being game to jump in at the last minute and review my writing before I hit publish.