Today there is a world Climate Strike. It is amazing, and amazing that it took this long.
As kids almost 50 years ago, we were already concerned about the environment. Earth Day got started, we read Ranger Rick and National Geographic World, and we knew that littering made an old Native American by the side of the road cry. We knew about animals going extinct from hunting and pollution. We used to plant trees on Arbor Day each June. We read the Lorax.
There were steady warnings on climate all along. Little whispers. Reminders. But there was also a big exciting world with products, and places to go, and things that distracted most of us. We lied to ourselves and ignored making it any sort of a big issue. And leaders never made it a priority.
Over a decade ago I started writing about climate warnings here. One story was about a report that said that if we didn’t make serious changes to our way of life by 2017, it would be too late for limiting the global temperature rise. We didn’t make those changes, and the pace of climate change has increased. Now it is much more of an emergency than it was a decade ago.
Of course, selfishly, this isn’t really an emergency for me. I’m old. I’ll be dead long before the truly horrible predictions come to pass. Climate change might even be useful in the short run to me. Perhaps I’ll do less shoveling of snow, and summers will be a bit warmer. And I don’t have any kids to worry about.
Today, though, I’m thinking about animals. The rate of extinction right now is astounding. Forest fires in South America, according to locals, are injuring the animal population. Jaguars running for their lives from flames. Snakes crawling up firefighters’ legs to escape the heat of the ground. Parrots burning.
Then there are the news reports of people killing elephants, lions, and tigers.
Insects are declining in number.
It goes on and on.
I can’t save the world. The things that need to change to make a real difference are way beyond my level. Large corporations, the military, and the extremely wealthy are the big culprits doing the most damage.
That said, I’ve always like the “think global, act local” mantra/bumpersticker. To that end, I want to make the yard as animal and insect friendly as I can. We’re letting some of the yard be wild and adding plants for pollinators and birds. There will be no chemicals or poisons used to control anything.
I let the ground wasps keep their nest this year – they stayed a few weeks and disappeared on their own. I let a carpenter bee make and keep a little hole for itself, too. The bee ended up being pretty friendly to us, but would patrol and chase off any other insects that came by.
In terms of a wild kingdom, it has been fun to see the number of birds, bugs, turkeys, bears, and deer that have passed through. The two baby bear cubs that came by (and took a serious look at my garden railroad) were a real pleasure to see. I’d like animal visits to continue. The cat would prefer the bears stay away, but he has enjoyed crickets and grasshoppers all summer long.
So I’m continuing, and doubling down, on my support for animals and other wild creatures.
I’m also going to continue to support youth on the issue of climate change. They need help and encouragement so that they do what needs to be done. If we can’t help then it would best for us to simply get out of the way.
To that end, I extend to the youth (and adult helpers) of Brattleboro and offer of this site as a forum for local climate news, ideas, and discussion. Tell us what you are doing and how you want others to help. Tell us why this is an important issue to you and what you think must be done. Keep us updated and share new concerns. We’ll publish whatever you write (get your parents permission, though!), whenever you write it. No editing.