The elephant in the room, the specter hovering over daily minutiae, is global warming. (At least for me.) I feel more comfortable talking about reproductive systems with hormonal seventh graders than I do honestly expressing my opinions about climate change. I have to hold back, since nobody wants to talk to a depressing Cassandra. I don’t even want to talk to myself when I get in those moods. And yet, I still feel that my grim outlook hews closely to reality.
I’ve been grappling with how to tackle these issues in my own life, and educate others, without coming from a place of fear and pessimism. Sometimes I think of the feeling that animals must have as their water source moves, flowers don’t open at the right time, or in the case of the puffins, the herring and white hake (Audubon Project Puffin 2015) aren’t readily available and many fledglings starve to death.
I think of the feeling I have when I’m not dressed for the frigid cold and rushing home, wanting with every cell of my being to reach a destination. Or the sheer desperation of the time my family went on a 3 mile walk in the mountains of Wyoming without any water, and how all I could think about was water and chapstick, not the clear beauty of the snow-capped mountains. I remember being consumed by a desire for liquid, any liquid. I drank and drank and drank when we finally made it back.
I can’t help but imagine that animals feel that same overwhelming, primitive urge, the urge that is crucial to survival. It breaks my heart to think of them never arriving at their destination, never finding the right kind of fish to feed their starving chicks, never slurping down water gratefully. Climate change means suffering for puffins, and innumerable other living organisms.
I will celebrate the living things we have, and mourn those that we have destroyed.