The Voices of Elders Are Needed in the Climate Conversation. Hear a few reasons why elders are taking action on climate change and why we came to Washington, D.C.
FutureFlash! Project Sowing a Culture of Peace with the Elders Climate Network
In this holiday season, when people sing of Peace On Earth, I’m inviting my own family — and yours — to tell what this statement means to them. “Recognize that peace is the wholeness created by right relationships with oneself, other persons, other cultures, other life, Earth, and the larger whole of which all are a part.” – The Earth Charter
I want my six grandchildren to know why I care so passionately about the condition our planet is in. I need for them to know that I believe that we can change climate change. I’m telling them about significant moments in my own journey. And I want them to consider their own part in the unfolding saga of how the human family learned to live together in a culture of peace. Together, we are Sowing a Culture of Peace, with the Earth Charter as a guide.
My mother instilled in me at an early age that it is important to contribute oneself in life. So I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout and a volunteer throughout my life.
As I got older, I didn’t want to simply take action for the sake of taking action. Incremental change didn’t appeal to me. It needed to be a grand scale difference, a highly leveraged difference. I say this rather tongue in cheek because the sound of it makes me embarrassed. I do not think of myself as an arrogant person, but for whatever reason, I always felt that any investment of my time and energy should be pivotal, should change the tide. So as a young twenty something I was ending hunger. In my thirties I was transforming education. In my 40’s and 50’s I was raising money to cure cancer.
Enter my 60’s and the birth of my first grandchild. At that moment I realized I had to do something about climate change. The thought of my legacy all of a sudden became relevant. I couldn’t imagine my grandchildren not being able to play outdoors because it’s too hot or the air is too polluted. I couldn’t imagine them not enjoying the gushing waterfalls of Yosemite or the lush tropical gardens of Hawaii. I couldn’t imagine their world not having all the species of birds or the presence of the simple wildlife that I’d taken for granted my entire life.
I received an email last winter from Grady McGonagill, inviting me to join him and others for a meeting of ECA. My friend, Rajesh Kasturirangan, had talked to me about it earlier. I was out of the country at that time, so I wrote back to Grady, that once I am back, I would love to join them.
I have been part of our South Asia Center for many years and for last couple of years, we decided to raise awareness about climate justice amongst the South Asian community in the Greater Boston area, so the mission of ECA was in sync with what we have been doing for some time. South Asia is one of the most adversely affected regions of the world due to climate change. For instance, it has been reported that 80% of the ground water has been depleted there.
So I joined ECA in the spring and attended my first meeting at Judy Weiss’s house in Brookline. I found everyone very friendly, pleasant and deeply concerned about the state of affairs and what world we were going to leave behind for our children and grandchildren. I felt a serious commitment by the group to climate justice.