How do you remain hopeful in what feels like a hopeless world?
I suppose the good news is that Andrew Scheer isn’t our next Prime Minister.
But provincially? Saskatchewan is blue. All blue. I am heartbroken and scared. My reaction might be, in part, due to the fact that I haven’t been sleeping properly as a result of the jet lag, and likely haven’t been taking my medications consistently. That’s on me. But I can also feel the weight of the entire world on my shoulders. I don’t really know where to start with all my feels, so the rest of this post might seem a bit chaotic and rough around the edges (just like me).
Apparently, 60% of the people in this province (who voted) believe basic human decency is simply ~PoLiTiCaLly CoRrEcT~ and support policies that undermine things such as a woman’s right to get an abortion, and a trans person’s right to simply exist. Apparently, 60% of the people in this province (who voted) are fundamentally against any semblance of action on climate change, and would rather support the extractive industry to their deathbeds than open their minds to the possibility of a healthy, prosperous, and beautiful future for their children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and beyond. And the weight I feel on my shoulders is a result of not knowing what the fuck I am supposed to do about this. It’s not a matter of political differences anymore. And I don’t know how to explain to people that they should care about others, especially because I will be the first to admit that I care too much. My tiny heart is consistently overflowing with love and admiration for others, and I simply cannot comprehend not giving a shit about other people.
Last month, I read Greta Thunberg’s book, which is a compilation of some of the speeches she’s given in the past year or so. She is so brave. She is braver at 16 than I am at 31. She is a living, breathing example of the fear so many people—and children in particular—feel about the climate crisis. Greta, and all the children of this world, deserve the opportunity to make their wildest dreams come true. How can we be so selfish? Is our comfort really that important? If you work in the extractive industry and are concerned about how you will continue to pay your bills once you (inevitably) lose your job (sorry), I have a suggestion for you: adapt. Learn to live simply. It’s the fucking least you can do. It’s the least any of us can do. I’m not saying this to be combative. I don’t want you to feel bullied or forgotten about. Instead, I want you to realize that people like me are trying so hard to create a world where you can prosper in the renewable industry. Where you will still have meaningful work. Where you can still provide for your family. Because it’s what you deserve. It’s what we all deserve. But we all need to be in this together. And I am getting so tired of fighting you. And truthfully, I want to work with you.
I just spent some time overseas visiting friends, and I was frankly shocked by the difference in the political landscape. Under a conservative government, the UK has still managed to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at a hugely substantive level (I think it’s about 40% below 1990 levels). People don’t bat an eye at the concept of bike lanes, public transit, and renewables. What has always felt divisive in Saskatchewan is simply the status-quo on the other side of the pond. I didn’t have to defend the work I do at an environmental charity. In fact, people celebrated my line of work. It was refreshing.
Then I came home to an entirely blue province (federally), where the current provincial government is actively working to undermine the renewable industry and is pushing for dangerous nuclear energy instead. I came home to an entirely blue province, where we are geographically larger than the entire United Kingdom, sparsely populated, and yet still are not supportive of immigration (even when the migrants are actually refugees who need our asylum). Does this make any sense to you?
I know this post is all over the place, but I am just trying to paint a picture of intersectionality amongst the fight for climate justice. In my brain I see our society as a web, and I can see how every single thing is connected. I can see how—like in nature—if one strand is broken, the entire web is impacted. Climate change is a crisis rooted in sexism, classism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and transphobia. Oppressed peoples are already living at the margins of society, and climate change perpetuates issues like displacement, violence, and poverty. It is a public health issue that has to be addressed with a systemic lens. We need equity, for all. Without it, the web will no longer be able to support us.
Climate change is our doing. The only way to solve climate change is to take responsibility for it, to recognize that all social justice issues are connected, and to lift each other up in our fight for a brighter tomorrow. Watching our entire province turn blue feels like a bullet to the chest. It is a very, very real reminder that work still needs to be done. I am exhausted, but I promise to keep fighting. I will fight every single day for a better world… a world where we are all safe. I care so much about this planet, its ecosystems, and its inhabitants. I am exhausted, but I care too much to stop fighting.
I will keep fighting in honour of all those who came before me. I am eternally grateful to the thousands of activists, past and present, especially those who are Black, Indigenous, POC, and 2SLGBTQ+.
I am also eternally grateful to you, for reading this. I see you, and I love you.
“We have to rethink structures, systems, institutions, and constructs. Only together can we create a new vision for this country.” —Desiree Adaway