If you’re reading our blog, I think you’re already aware that the climate crisis is happening now. We’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Heat Dome that took the lives of 96 Oregonians, and countless other no less valuable, nonhuman lives. Floods, hail storms, and wildfires are a part of the daily lives of so many Americans. It’s happening now, and it’s painful to see.
You may have read some of my earlier blog posts here, about working for Outdoor School, about climate anxiety, and about some books that have given me hope. You may have seen that young Oregonians like me are feeling crushed by waves of climate anxiety. I think that a lot of us are on a similar journey right now, and people are starting to pay attention.
Working outside in the forests along the Sandy River is a magical experience. Working with kids is an amazing opportunity. Both fill me with such joy, and also, both break my heart. This spring, we returned to on-site learning with our sixth grade students. It was only a day program, and it wasn’t perfect, but seeing these kids learn and explore the outdoors, oftentimes for the first time, was beautiful. Sitting in silence with a group of 45 as we watched a Barred owl teach her chick how to hunt was an experience I’ll never forget. But I’ll also never be able to forget having to explain day after day, that our Western Red Cedars are sick. That they’re dying, and that soon this won’t be Cedarland anymore. Because the climate crisis is happening, and we can see it. Our children see it even in our most magical, wild places.
But in these kids, in these feisty, silly, strong, scared eleven- and twelve-year-olds I see determination. In my high school volunteers I see power. And that gives me hope. The climate crisis is happening, and it’s happening now. But us young people are also here now. And we aren’t going to give up on our future.
And I hope that you won’t either.