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My kids and I hung out with Al Gore all week.

Jul 31, 2020

So about a month ago I received an email about a bunch of teenagers who were doing the next Climate Reality Training with Al Gore...

I had three almost simultaneous thoughts:

 1 Wow, those kids are awesome. 

 2 I am decidedly less awesome in this area. I mean I know I care, so I should probably do something about it all, but what? 

 3 Um, I'm kinda tired here as a parent these days, between coronavirus and no school and doing the very necessary scrub-through of my life for all the bits of unconsciously absorbed racism...

But I signed up anyway. I mean, I figure we kind of owe our kids at least this much given the state of the planet they're inheriting from us.

I figured we'd watch a video or two, then go away with a few action points. Nope. Al Gore is not kidding. They are literally showing up to turn people into actual Climate Leaders! My husband was a bit leery. What had I dragged us into? Would the kids really do this with us? 

Well, I am happy to say, YES!!

The past week found us huddled together, watching videos, meeting with climate activists all over the world and becoming passionate ourselves. I even felt like I met a whole new side of my husband of 15 years this week.  

The pic above is of our small breakout group. (Yes everyone there said it was ok to share this pic, and btw, all the climate activists we met are so freaking NICE. Every single person there inspired me with their kindness and caring.)

The experience was genuinely thrilling, informative and hopeful in the end. (The beginning, admittedly not so much...)  

Why am I telling you all this? Because if I can do this, I have a serious hunch that you can too...

See, I am NOT a natural climate activist. As much as I understand about the depth and interconnectivity of the world of parenting, I was always quite the opposite when it came to the larger, more political side of life.

I am someone who was always rather small minded about the world. I knew what I knew, and saw what I saw. I think of it like this: there are eagles among us who survey from above. They see the changing landscape, and the connections between the land formations. Then there are the buffalo; they roam about seeing from one field to another, not quite as able to survey as the eagle, but also aware that their field is not the only one.  And then there are field mice, like me. We know every little blade of grass, every rock, intimately. But we don't always see the larger whole because we are small and on the ground. 

That is how I was with politics. I had My life. My job. My family. My friends. But then I got older. And had kids. And suddenly started to see connections everywhere.

Connections that run from the government down to my family. To the kind of healthcare I had access to. The kind of healthcare others had access to. To the companies that made money off us and the fewer companies that actually seemed to want to do good. To the larger school community we were part of. And the city community. And the faith community. 

We weren't alone. We were part of an interconnected web that went from all the way at the top of the food chain to all the way down to our little hole in the field where we ate our cheese. And once I saw that, I couldn't unsee that.

 And that is how caring about my kids turned into caring about my parenting turned into caring about my fellow parents  which turned into caring about all parents, and all children, and all people and all countries and cultures and civilization. And at the end of it all, housing each and every part of it, our very planet. 

At first I had written off the rains that stopped coming. The years of drought. Then the raging fires. Then the flooding and the mudslides. A weird year turned into a weird decade turned into not weird at all. It was what the climate scientists had always said would happen. I had just never ever listened. 

So here I am listening. Because climate change is happening. And it's happening now. And whether you are an eagle who sees it clearly, a bear who thought you might be noticing it, or a mouse who's still stuck in your hole, I invite you to see it too. Because we really are all in this together. And thinking you are unpolitical is just not an option anymore. Your very existence depends on acknowledging that existing in and of itself is a political act. And how we exist is made of up all the daily choices we make, each one political in its own way. So whether you know it or not, your habits have been voting for a certain way of life. Lift your head up and make sure you know what you've been voting for. And vote for this planet. Because, seriously,  if you don't, pretty soon there may be nothing else left to vote for ever again.

Do YOU want to hang out and discuss climate change with Al Gore for a week?

You CAN.

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