WORDS & IMAGE: KATE WEINER
It is really freaking hard to be young and living in the heart of the climate crisis. We have inherited both the terrifying burden and the beautiful opportunity to heal this world. Many of the tender tribulations of being a twenty-something— figuring out what we want to do and where and with whom, paying rent, making (and messing up) love—all of these small struggles unfurl in the context of species extinction and ocean acidification. The urgency of the climate crisis can make every late morning lolling in bed feel like a failure. Sometimes I think: I don't have time to take on work that doesn't mean something to me or to wonder if Will will ever want to talk to me again. And then I power through my days, trying to pack every minute with purpose, to quick fix things that take patience. When I slip, I spiral.
To be fair, I spiral at the sight of Venetian blinds (does ANYONE understand how to work those?) I'm skilled in the subtle art of wholehearted panic. I know that there is as much hope to be had as sorrow in this world because my everyday work is to collect evidence that people care, to make art that inspires sustainable living, to share the stories of artists and activists working on the frontlines of systems change. I know, too, that neither fear nor scarcity drives me. But I am not immune to feeling afraid, or at a loss. I am full of limitless love and bottomless grief.
Each one of us embodies the trauma of the climate crisis in our everyday lives. We worry that we will lose our land to drought. We question if we can have kids in good conscience. We wonder if we will have enough time to build the lives we want when we are losing entire worlds every day. We ask a lot of questions and we're not always certain how to answer them.
When we do feel weighted by wonder, it's vital that we find ways to ground ourselves in the tenets of the sensuous environmentalist manifesto that are climate-change proof. In those moments when my eco-anxiety makes every misplaced word and mundane moment feel like a tragedy, I remind myself that I have time to be imperfect. We have time to be imperfect. We have time to dream, to make mistakes, to be angry, to cry, to wait, to wonder. We have to make time for our humanity because pushing ourselves to be perpetually productive only reinforces the toxic capitalist structures that have ravaged our environment. Breathing in and out is a radical act.
The climate crisis is urgent. That urgency, however, doesn't mean we are short on time. Because when you look for abundance, you find it. When you make time, you have it. When you take a day to hike and read and sip chai tea, you are nurturing your reciprocal relationship with your soul & with our soil.
Incredible things can happen in only a few weeks. I've fallen in love in just a couple of days. Time is not out of our hands. We have to fight fiercely for a fossil-free future but we also have to fight for our right to live as we are—irresistibly imperfect, perpetually in process. And maybe too, we have to give ourselves permission to risk more, to love fearlessly. If only because we are here and why not?