"Of all the dangers we face, from climate chaos to nuclear war, none is so great as the deadening of our response."Joanna Macy
When I wrestle with sleep after reading another set of reports on climate change I usually get to the point where I try soothing myself with something along the lines of, oh but we got this.
For years I have edited and translated enough papers on food sovereignty, biodiversity, the rights of peasant farmers, alternative pollinators, ancient seed knowledge and more, to boldly agree with science that yes, women peasant farmers can feed the world.
Yes. This is a fact, not a dream, I did my research. It's made almost impossible to reach by greed of course, but the potential is there. And potential is something to hold on to. At least when sleep won't come. Surely.
I am listed as a member of our local transition town group, although I've never been to any event but I pretend it helps if I stay up to date via their mailing list.
In my sleepless nights, I whisper to myself, that my family, my friends, their friends, we are resilient, we are gardeners, farmers, growers, carpenters, electricians, teachers, thinkers, crafts people, when faced with hard times, we have always pooled resources, shared skills, looked out for each other.
And, so I used to tell myself, by the time when we will (most certainly) find ourselves in a remnant civilisation struggling with the dramatic effects of climate change, we will have this to rely on, community, skills and tools, seeds and soil and biodiversity.
But no, only a dream after all because, fuck this, insects.
"The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review."The Guardian
After lunch today, we sat outside today in the mild spring Sunday sunlight, said hello to the bees and the bumble bees and held our breath for a bit. (The puzzling news is that the classes of insects that are declining fastest are butterflies, bees and dung beetles. No one is going out of their way to eliminate them to the extent that their numbers are declining. Whereas blood sucking mosquitoes, the likes that transmit yellow fever for example, are increasing.)
Early this week I read somewhere in an essay this memory of hurricane Sandy:
"I remember that when the bodegas in our hood ran out of food, some folks shared with their neighbors. But when the gas station started running out of fuel, some folks pulled out their guns."Emily Raboteau
And yet, I am not ready to give up. And I am not prepared to moan about how fucked up we are as humans and all that stuff about population figures and how it is too late anyway. WTF.
How do you sleep at night?
What comes to mind when you read or watch the school kids out on the street demonstrating for action on climate change?
I feel shame. And I realise we are only tinkering with ideas of solutions, if at all.
And with impeccable timing, this lecture arrived in my inbox.
It's long, it requires listening, it is not nice, you can try and write it off, pretend it is fake news, get sarcastic, whatever, if you read it, you can skip some of the harsher bits (transcript here).
We sit in the gorgeous sunlight and listen in silence. Of course, we know all this and of course, we don't want to know this. We want to return to some ignorant state of mind, something childish, but even children know what is at stake. We have no choice. Looking away is no longer an option. We are lost. We are not alone.
We cannot unthink these thoughts.
So now, we debate whether we should send the link to this lecture to the young woman who lifted her three months old child into the camera lens this morning so we could rejoice with her.
What would you do?