Ever since I became aware of the dangers of our changing climate, I’ve carried around an empty hope that our leaders will fix this problem. This is in spite that we have the scientific knowledge of what’s happening and lots of ideas to reverse the slide toward a climate catastrophe. We have the knowledge but not the will to make the difficult but necessary changes.

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg chastised European parliament members last February in Brussels: “You can’t just sit around waiting for hope to come ... Then you are acting like spoiled irresponsible children. You don’t seem to understand that hope is something that you have to earn.”

This scolding struck my conscience. I had been hoping that others would solve climate change. Had I earned any hope? Had I done anything? So I started asking myself: What have I done to earn my hope that we might actually solve this climate crisis?

Have I:

• prepared my home to prevent it burning in a wildfire?

• worked with my neighbors to be ready for wildfire or other emergencies?

• Done anything about protecting our water from pollution and being depleted by water bottling plants?

• Reduced my use of plastic and pre-packaged food by buying food in bulk?

• Reduced our garbage waste, especially food waste by composting it?

• Started growing some of my food in my house garden or community garden?

• Stopped using chemical pesticides which are killing garden pollinators?

• Substantially reduced my eating of meat, especially factory raised pork and beef?

• Voted for politicians (city, county and national) who promise to work on the climate crisis that our children will face?

• Donated money to an organization working on the climate crisis?

• Had discussions with friends and neighbors on how to deal with the impending climate crisis?

• Encouraged my workplace to adopt green practices and policies?

• Reduced my use of fuel (propane, heating oil, gas) by installing solar panels?

• Reduced my fuel by driving less?

• Divested my savings from fossil fuel stocks and invested into green energy bonds or stocks?

• Marched or attended rallies calling attention to the climate crisis?

• Spoken to or encouraged students to learn and become involved in the climate crisis activities?

• Searched for more information on how I can help my community prepare for the future?

And, finally, but not least, am I willing to be arrested at a demonstration to protect the future of my family?

In review, I have lots to learn and do for earning my hope. First, I have to re-organize my time and priorities. I hope it’s not too late!

Wayne Kessler

Mount Shasta