Last night, I had the opportunity to hear Christiana Figueres speak. And here’s what she had to say, this global advocate for the fight against climate change: “Things are so much worse than we thought, and so much better than we ever imagined.”
In other words: The next ten years, she told us, is the time period available to us to make a choice between two drastically different worlds for our children. It is truly our last chance to heave humanity onto a different track toward regeneration and abundance – or hurtle on. We truly do have the power, and this is terrifying, but should also be galvanizing. Inspiring. Irresistible. Even, for Christiana, “fun.”
In other words: “Man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life,” as John F. Kennedy said in his inaugural address in 1961. Except the timeline is drastically reduced; the possibility of nuclear war is now the certainty of environmental destruction; the time for the choice has arrived right on our doorstep; and one of those mortal hands belongs to woman, thank you very much.
In other words: I came home from the dinner and looked at my phone and saw that my president had begun the formal process of withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, the negotiations of which were Figueres’ landmark achievement, and I understood for the first time why people like Christiana do not seem to be stuck on U.S. shortcomings quite the way I have been, because the time has come to set aside childish things. Even when this includes your president and your government. Especially then.
When your leadership is blindly amoral, you must look elsewhere, and in this case, the alternative is right in front of us. It is marching through our streets. It is holding up a very clear recipe for change and success. There is no mystery to reducing our carbon emissions, house by house and then nation by nation; there is a growing family of what Figueres called “stubborn optimists;” there is no morally defensible place to be except inside that growing family; and, well, here we go. Here we go.
I’m a writer in San José, Costa Rica, on a year-long quest to share daily posts on inspiring people, places and ideas from my adopted home as a kind of tonic during a rough time in the world. Sign up (top right of this page) to receive a little dose of inspiration every weekday in your mailbox; tell a friend; check out past posts; and please connect with me on Instagram or Facebook! You can also find me churning out small, square poems on any topic under the sun (here on the site, on Instagram or Twitter).