What do you do if you hear the oceans are dying? When I did, a little over a year ago, I was almost paralyzed. For days I woke up in the middle of the night and every morning, my chest feeling as though it was going to burst with grief and anger and despair, my mind stunned at the implications, my body wet with sweat. How can something as huge, as boundless, as essential to my perception of the earth be in such grave danger? I get climate change, I get forests, I get rivers, I get polar bears – but the ocean? The crises the earth is in hits different people in different ways – this was my ‘wake-up’ moment.
I had learned about Canadian Journalist Alanna Mitchell’s book Seasick. She is a speaker and writer who also turned her book about the state of the oceans into a one woman play, which she performs herself, even though she loathes public speaking. The topic did not let her go. And it pushed her, just like it pushed me, to go further than those despairing and disabling emotions, to find a response that would match at least in some way, the intensity of the issue – even though it seems impossible to find.
All I could think of doing after listening to her was ‘pack up and go talk to people’. An idea formed – what if I travelled the East Coast of the US, from the south of Florida to the north of Maine and found a way to communicate – with all kinds of people – about what is happening to the oceans?
It was the first piece in a puzzle that took shape over the past 18th months. My main question was: what was the best way to speak to people? Alarmism has not helped the Climate Movement enough. Just throwing facts at people seems to be equally unproductive. People respond to hope, to positive challenges, to a clear goal – and we have trouble thinking big and long term.
More questions: Why would anyone want to speak with me? Did I need a solution or solutions to direct people to? Did it make sense to do this by myself? With whom could I collaborate?
Well, now there is a plan and I am excited to be sharing it with you on this blog.
And if you feel like supporting this journey, here is my fundraising page: https://www.gofundme.com/PEBLclimatetrip. THANK YOU!