"Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself."
-John Lewis, US House of Representatives
“Because Black, Indigenous, and brown communities are the most affected, it is indicative of not only more grief, but also more action. My personal climate grief was addressed when I started being an activist, having a purpose, (saying) ‘I’m not gonna let this happen.’.,,I started writing because of rage, to be quite honest. And the rage, the grief, the love... all of these emotions drive my writing."
-Mary Heglar, climate justice essayist and writer-in-residence at Columbia University
“We see and feel the spirit of our animals and our land; they are our ancestor spirits. We don’t own country, country owns us; we come from her to protect her. When country hurts, we hurt. When our animals, our spirit cousins, cry, we cry.”
-Bee Cruse, a Wiradjuri, Gomeroi, and Monaroo-Yuin storyteller from Australia
GRIEF IN THE FACE OF CLIMATE CHANGE
We began working on The Flowers Are Burning in 2012. Now during the middle of 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, a world finally grappling with institutional racism, and one of the most chaotic and upsetting political and economic times ever, we find ourselves looking at climate changes with different eyes. There is even more sorrow at what continues to be lost. We understand we must all continue adapt to what cannot be reversed and to embrace our grief in service of protecting what we love that is still here. Emphasizing the words of our late Representative John Lewis, is is crucial to our survival that we build a "Beloved Community".
Several resources, books, websites, lectures have put us in touch with a wave of people who are grappling with how to live amidst so much devastation. These can be very challenging to read and digest and we urge you to approach them with an open heart. Prepare to feel big emotions, in hopes of finding a way towards making changes that we need to make. Please be gentle with yourselves.
The Moth Snowstorm: Nature and Joy by Michael McCarthy was one of our first such books that explored the emotional ranges from joy and grief to rage to overwhelm to love. A "moth snowstorm" was a phenomenon that the author, and people of a certain age (us) recall from childhood when moths were so abundant they "would pack a car's headlight beams like snowflakes in a blizzard". This beautiful experience is no longer, as moth populations have plummeted. The author, an environmental journalist, asks us to consider nature as an inner emotional and spiritual resource, and to use his love of nature as a form of activism, resistance and a call to arms.
Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush is a beautifully written book about the vanishing shores due to rising sea levels. Stories from the real people whose lives are being upended as they try to adapt to a shocking, unnatural reality homes and property disappearing underwater. She coins a new term for the pain and sorrow one feels when faced with such dramatic and sweeping change: endsickness.
Collapsing Rage Into Grief....this short lecture by philospher Judith Butler on Rage and Grief speaks to us about our struggle with loss. Rage and grief are intertwined emotions, with rage covering up the grief to ward it away. She suggests that mourning our losses instead of pushing them away can change us in healing ways. If sorrow is what lies beneathe rage, then non-violence can occur if we allow rage to "collapse into grief". Could grief and sorrow show us "the steps to take to preserve what is left of what we we love?" This profound question is at the forefront of our search for how to face the world as it is today.