It is heartening how frequently the Green New Deal resolution is featuring into mass news media conversations. Despite a tendency for news outlets to court a questionable sense of balance and objectivity and therefore inevitably focus on the extent to which the prospect is a political winner or not, the fact that the resolution is firmly focused on environmental realities comes as a relief. I’ve been waiting decades for this to become the ascendant issue it needs to be, and am grateful for any bit of hope able to counter the despair inherent to noting the increasingly small flocks of geese, and the general sense of mourning which accompanies moments of beauty that I fear are ephemeral.
As I think befits this place of abundant fresh water and it’s lingering memory of temperate forest canopy, Michigan happens to be the birth home of one of the founders of the Sunrise Movement – the organizational name of the youth-lead grassroots efforts largely responsible for bringing a Green New Deal into wide consideration. I support their work as much as I am able, and am glad to help represent the interests of the younger children with whom I spend so much of my time.
At a recent action intended to garner more Senatorial support for the resolution (largely symbolic at this point), a group of about 40 people visited our Senator’s Lansing office to speak toward why we need him to make a clear statement of support. I was asked to be one of three speakers to speak primarily to how our personal experience demands we take the threats of climate change seriously, as well as the necessity of action. Because I like to write out my thoughts a bit before speaking when I have the chance, I was also able to send my remarks to local newspapers as a letter to the editor.
Here’s what I had to say:
I am a mother of three children and work in a public elementary school library. It is heartbreaking that to tell these children the truth of the world is to alert them to an ongoing story of loss. Loss of animal species, loss of topsoil, loss of fish in the rivers and oceans, and loss of the insect populations essential to life on earth.
My 4 year old son cries to see the snow melt away within just a few days, and all I can say is that I’m sorry too, and wasn’t it beautiful? 4th graders want to know what if there ends up being only one tiger left? 2nd graders ask where did all the butterflies go? Our children want to know: can anything be done?
Mitch McConnell wants us all to assume the answer is no. That a Green New Deal isn’t feasible. Why? Because of a political system that favors the profitability of the poisoners.
We the people can together decide and determine that progress will no longer be measured by a loss of life. We ask our Michigan Senators Gary Peters and Debbie Stabenow, and all our political leaders, to support a vision of progress that prioritizes growth and restoration. To prove to our children that we know they deserve a living earth, and that now is the time we will finally commit to that work.