Hope? (Part 3 of 3)
My name is Elizabeth, for those of you who do not know me, I am the Co Founder and the Head Editor of this blog. This is my last day on the job.
When I was 16 I became consciously aware of climate change. Upon doing so, I turned to reading more about it. I wanted to know everything about climate change, and I wanted to understand what I could do. In doing so, I started to drown.
I was drowning in the sheer number of ways that this problem could be seen and the ways in which it seems to effect and threaten every level of the ecosystem.
I was drowning in the complexity of how to measure, prove, and predict warming. On the number of ways that it could be denied or conflated in ways that undermined and distracted from the reality.
And hope seemed to evade me when I thought about the systemic implications and repercussions of acting on climate change. Since, it ultimately is not an issue that can be addressed by the actions of an individual but rather calls for action and reformation of larger industries and maybe even economic systems.
I tried to have hope, but it seemed to do more damage than good for my ability to stay afloat and focus and thrive in everyday life. Since, hope can be crushed, and my feeble attempts at it were often led to more dismay.
Around the same time, I decided that I would spend as much of my energy as I could manage trying to be the best Albertan environmentalist that I could be… I was kind of a weirdly focused kid.. And then when I finished my undergraduate degree, I would reevaluate.
And I did just that.
I have now (nearly) finished my undergraduate. And I still have a complicated relationship with hope.. But I also think I have more of it than I ever had before. A lot of the reason why this is the case, is because I was lucky enough to be the head editor of The Green Medium for the last four years. I have collected three examples of such hope for your perusal…
Two (dream come true) jobs :Last summer I was able to intern at the Calgary Pembina office and got to work with three women who I had looked up to for years. I was able to learn more about writing, talking about the environment in a way that isn't polarizing, and the carbon tax. This summer I worked on using neural networks to predict how much solar can be added to distribution lines before they need to be replaced.
When I got both jobs, both of my bosses brought up The Green Medium.
Through both of these jobs I was able to learn things, and had the opportunity to really questioning my own biases about the environment and sustainability.. learning, and questioning how I think about things... gives me hope.
My parents got solar :
Only July 26th I wrote a solar guide for getting solar for my parents .,.and they did get solar!! :)
They also got more insulation after getting an energy audit (as you can see.. that is also in the midst of happening!).
Getting to engage with posts from over 75 Youth (in counting):
Getting to read the posts on this blog have given me hope. When we decided to end the blog this year, we got a response and support from the environmental community. Through their efforts, we found 3 new editors, from the ages of 16-20, from Calgary, Fort Mac, and Edmonton. The thought of the blog continuing through them makes me extremely humbled and excited.
When I look back at the last six years. I feel overwhelmed, by the fact that I may have not been able to do enough, but I think, or would like to think, that I did was the best I could.
Earlier this week I was asked to be the Albertan youth voice on a panel on climate change action in Canada for the CBC…It aired today and you can listen to it here August 31st, 20 mins onward. When listening back to it, it felt like I had learned a little, likely not enough, but something, from my last few years of working in sustainability.
I wanted to end this post with a story, one that has stuck with me, and I think has given me the most amount of hope through my little journey (or some may say obsession) of trying to be a good Albertan environmentalist..that I probably remember only somewhat correctly but will share it with you to the best of my abilities.
I was at a conference, and the speaker told us this.: A fire was burning down the forest and the Wolf and Bear went to collect the other animals to help them escape the flames. The hummingbird filled its mouth with water and would travel back and forth, attempting to put out the flames. The deer stopped the hummingbird, and told it to stop, its efforts could obviously futile. The hummingbird, said that it was the best that he could do, so that it was what he would continue to do. And so he continued to go back and forth.
In my time as an Albertan environmentalist I have time and time gone back to this. It has been comforting to remind myself that I can only do the best that I can… but also to remember to see the hummingbird in others, especially those who views I don't fully agree with when it comes to the environment. Since even if it doesn't always appear as such, most people, are also just trying to do the best that they can. Climate change is not an issue that can be reduced to good and bad people.. It is a lot more complicated than that and to be involved in this field, and these discussions, it takes a lot of patience, and at least a little hope.
With all my heart,