I am a millennial — part of the 1.5°C generation. To riff on the words of Barack Obama, we are the first generation to grow up with climate change as an existential threat, and the last one that can do anything about it before catastrophe arrives.
As I recently wrote, we have left the era where we could have largely prevented climate change, and have locked in a minimum of 1.5 degrees Celsius warming, the redline value that would flood small island nations and meaningfully alter the planet for every living thing for thousands of years. That…is a big deal.
We are now in the era of living with climate change. Scientists have warned us about our new reality for decades. That’s terrifying, but my generation doesn’t have the luxury in dwelling for too long. I am deeply inspired by fellow scientist Kate Marvel’s call for courage — not hope, not faith, courage — from those of us who work on climate change every day. So inspired that, after talking it over with my Grist colleagues, we decided to start this newsletter.
In this space, I’m planning a weekly reflection on what it means to be alive at this critical moment in Earth’s history. With Grist’s unique position as an environmental nonprofit focused on telling the story that’s aspirational — a planet that doesn’t burn and a future that doesn’t suck — we depend on the enthusiasm of our readers, and believe in their ability to make change.
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We’re living in an era that demands courage. We can’t be afraid to really deeply understand the truth that we are all in this together. There is no escaping this truth on a small planet.
As my friend and Grist colleague Justine Calma says, do not shy away from the term “radical” — it means you are “getting to the root” of a problem; rad = root. At this moment in human and planetary history, being radical is what we must do.
If you’re wondering where you can fit in, here’s the most important thing you can do: Talk about climate change. Talk about it with anyone who will listen. And then model your life around your connection to that truth. In times like these, telling the truth is revolutionary.
“You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”- Angela Davis
Thanks for listening,