If there is a place to take heart in the face of so much hurt, it is in the power of small – of small daily acts and small groups of people that have the ability to unleash the power of community and change the world. While the steady stream of devastating climate news can be difficult to engage with, it is important to let it in and let it inform who and how we are. This transformation of ourselves and our communities is essential and NOW is our moment – this week, this month. Get your tickets today for our Climate Action Concert this Sunday the 8th and join us Thursday the 5th at Climate Action Petaluma’s Forum on Equity, Hope and Action. We must all take heart, take part and take action, now more than ever.
The number one thing we need to do to protect the health and safety of our families, our community and our future is to step up and into significant, ongoing civic engagement. Each one of us needs to make this our new norm, community-wide, in every community. If we listen to the record heat, fires and floods and the very survival instinct in our blood and bones, we know this is true. If we act now and with boldness, I still believe that together we can create the necessary tipping point towards transformative climate action.
Despite the daily news of unprecedented fires from the Amazon to the Arctic; more glaciers dying; constant new temperature records; and a steady stream of urgent reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the most challenging thing for me to deal with is the widespread denial and inaction. It’s a functional denial. One where we acknowledge the crisis, sigh, and then go back to business as usual because it’s so daunting that we don’t know what to do. This is occurring at all scales from personal decisions about what we buy and eat, if we fly and how much, to decisions made by leaders from non-profits to businesses, government agencies, and elected officials.
This year, I’ve literally spoken and convened with hundreds of top leaders, and rarely has the climate emergency been in the center of the conversation. This is astonishing to me in a leadership community like Sonoma County that has carbon-free water, Sonoma Clean Power, a Regional Climate Protection Authority and countless other business, agriculture and non-profit leaders. And most importantly there is currently no plan anywhere in our community that is aligned with what is essentially the science of survival for civilization as we know it. I’m not saying this to depress, but as a part of the important climate truth telling that needs to happen. It is causing me to take more responsibility and bolder action. I hope it does the same for you.
But even as I voice this difficult-to-swallow truth, I take heart in the fact that every day I am seeing a shift. Climate Action Petaluma and the city have been a critical part of creating a tipping point in Sonoma County. Now a movement to pass Climate Emergency Resolutions is spreading through the county. This is a first step in rapidly mobilizing to create climate plans aligned with the science and then to implement them. My most recent conversations with people and leaders indicate that folks are not only waking up, but are getting re-energized, feeding the collective momentum of courage that we need. This ranges from everyday people to activists, non-profit and agency leaders, and top elected officials. Other partners are informing bolder goals for our Governor in regards to climate resilient water systems and appropriately ambitious carbon sequestration targets.
So how do we step up and into our civic engagement now when it matters more than ever? Here are three important ways to engage this week.
- Daily Acts Matter! Rising Up for Climate Action Concert, This Sunday September 8th!!! We have great bands, inspiring speakers including youth climate activists, Brock Dolman and Supervisor Lynda Hopkins sharing important updates and a call to action. We have a Climate Action Hub to move things like the Emergency Resolutions forward as well as a Healing Zone with interactive eco-art, yoga and teaching about mind body medicine practices. Please join us to have fun while getting connected and empowered. This is a big moment in our community to feed this tipping point.
- Climate Action Petaluma Forum on Equity, Hope and Action, Thursday September 5th, Petaluma Library, 6pm – 8pm. This forum is about the City of Petaluma’s new Climate Commission including how to apply and participate; how to make climate solutions inclusive and equitable and how we can bring hope while inspiring others and ourselves to engage in climate solutions.
- Sign onto and share the Sonoma County Climate Equitable Climate Emergency Action Resolution Campaign – Informed by the success of the Petaluma campaign, there is a similar initiative that Daily Acts and other partners are part of to get Climate Emergency Resolutions passed in all Sonoma County cities and by the county. The goal is to get 5,000 or more people and hundreds of organizations and businesses to sign on to this campaign to help build the public and political will we need. More to come on this important campaign!
What makes the global climate youth movement so powerful is that they have everything to lose in regard to their future. They are fierce and honest, and demand appropriate action. To support our community leaders to model similar boldness at all scales we must show up. While momentum is building, what is absolutely clear is that it is up to us to put public wind in the political sails for change to happen.
Will you join us and rise to the times? Will you take great heart and action to end the climate silence and heal the despair? Now more than ever, we need to move past the everyday denial that is keeping us from unleashing the power of community for transformative action.
Thank you for all your daily actions of conscious climate might!