Taking care of our own: Welcoming all who come to the cause

Over the past few years, I’ve run into a number of people much older than myself who are carrying a heavy burden of guilt for the failure of their generation to deal with climate change. I’ve led sessions un-related to climate change in which some phrase or word, without any such intention, sparked a tearful apology to myself and others of my age and younger for the state the planet is in.

This is a terrifying problem, and a lot of people who have been complicit in its creation feel terrible about it. This video is of a woman who’s followed Bill O’Reilly for years, who convinced many of her friends not to believe in global warming, and who was in denial to the point, according to her, of kicking people out of her house for talking about it.

She just watched the documentary Chasing Ice, and this was her reaction:

This is a hard issue to deal with. The stakes have never been higher in the history of civilization, and the knowledge that we have been complicit in the creation of such a crisis can be a crushing burden.

I’ve said before that our goal must be to build a better future. To take the titanic task before us and to use it as an opportunity not just to build a society that doesn’t use fossil fuels, but to build one that wouldn’t go back to them even if it was harmless to do so because we’ve got a better way. It’s a hopeful vision – a spur in our sides to send us leaping forward into the kind of future our forefathers dreamed of at the height of the industrial revolution.

But it’s going to be hard. We can be as positive as we want, but that will never erase the horror of realizing that our children will be faced with unprecedented trials, and the guilt from our involvement. This is a time when we must work to welcome every hand that comes to help, no matter their background.

This woman has worked, for most of her life, to create the crisis she has only just accepted as reality, and now it’s time to welcome her with open arms, and without recrimination. We all need support. We need to care for each other, and we need to recognize that as more and more people wake to the reality of our circumstances, that we have to be there for them.

This is as much a part of the work as building solar panels, and trains, and drought-proof farms.

I, for one, am glad to have this woman, whoever she is, on board. It matters little that she was fighting against us until just a couple days ago. Now she’s working with us, and I hope that she can find the support she needs to cope with her revelation, and the hard, hard work that will come from it.


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