I'll go through the facts and figures in a future post (or posts...there's a LOT of them!) but as usual wanted to make this personal. So gotta give a requisite SPOILER ALERT. Al Gore ends his TED talk with a remembrance to when he was young and heard President Kennedy announce that we would land a man on the moon within ten years. He recalls hearing adults of the day say that it's reckless, expensive and will fail. But lo, eight years and two months later when Neil Armstrong stepped out onto the moon, the cheer that went up from NASA's mission control was done by a group of systems engineers average age 26. Meaning they were 18 when they heard Kennedy's announcement and the subtext is that Kennedy's inspiration drove them to commit their careers to space...a mission that proliferated technologies and brought us the "blue marble" view of our planet that helped birth the environmental movement.
My friends, that is me. I am that "space nerd" except the cause that rallied me was climate change. At the age of 19 when I began learning about this issue and all environmental issues I felt a deep and lasting pull of the significance of the damage we have caused not only to the planet but to the ecosystems on which we depend for our lives. What better purpose in life could I find than dedicating myself to overcoming a seemingly insurmountable issue that will save humanity? By the time An Inconvenient Truth came out I was already on the journey and it just added fuel to my en fuego (thank you to my enviro professor & honors thesis advisor who gifted me this book!) I've worked in environmental positions since undergrad, always seeking new opportunities to have an even greater impact. I even spent the dark climate backlash years posting on social media in a failed attempt to change hearts & minds (not sure that worked...a bit of self-reflective criticism on this blog too. Am I speaking into the void? What do you think dear reader, my dear singular reader?)
People confuse optimism with naivete. That optimism can only happen if you don't have enough reality. I can't tell you the number of times people have looked at me and stated directly that I just don't know better, I'm too young, or rhetorically did a pat on the head for "that's cute" that I have this passion for our planet. I strongly, whole-heartedly and forever disagree. And the systems engineers in mission control would too.
I have walked through the hellfire of what I like to call "eco depression". I went deep into the dark depths of how badly we've choked ourselves and other living creatures on this planet. But here's the thing: I've come out the other side. My optimism comes precisely because I have a strong dose of reality. I know exactly how steep the path is towards that destruction, but I see the ladders to redemption too, and I choose to go there and bring as many people as I can with me. I choose to amplify and enable those opportunities. I've made it my life journey and career to find those ladders and invite others to see them and join me on the climb. "Alone we can go fast, but together we can go far."
It doesn't mean I don't hear "no". In fact it's quite the opposite. I hear Oh. So. MANY. No's. I laugh a little too hard and personally at lines in movies of "No? Is the only word you know, NO?" But I see those no's as someone who just hasn't gotten the right or enough information to see what I see.
So get dosed in reality and join team optimistic on climate change. Take a look at America's climate-explainer-in-chief on the latest for climate change and why we all have cause and hope to be optimistic...I know I am!
After the final no there comes a yes
And on that yes the future world depends