You all give me hope

Climate change is pretty frustrating. I’ve always known this, and it’s probably the reason that I have always tried to convince myself that I want to be anything but a climate activist. But here I am. Facing the magnitude of the climate crisis is like being told that you have a terminal illness, because it feels powerless. It feels debilitating. Oceans are rising. Thousands upon thousands of species on the verge of extinction. Drought. Storms. Heat waves. Floods. And yet, if you asked me today whether I had hope about the future, I’d immediately say “yes.” Not for the purpose of building a facade to make you feel better, to make you buy a product (or buy into a campaign), or to put you to sleep and gloss over the real issues. I would say yes because I really, truly do have hope for the future.

How can I say this, when I know what I know about the climate crisis? How can I face the end of everything, and still have “hope,” whatever that is?

Because there is a place where over thirty young people from all across the world gather, every other week, to share stories and take definitive action to end the climate crisis. In this place, we are allowed to process our emotions. We accept each other. We relate to one another. We laugh together, and we cry together. In this place, we can recognize that, yes, the sky is really, truly falling, and that we can do something about it, even if that “something” is just being together.

iMatter already had an amazing campaign, filled with powerful tools and resources. Anyone could jump straight in and make a huge impact in their city.

But here’s the thing about climate change. When you’re faced with that terminal diagnosis, the last thing you want to do is be alone. One person is not powerful enough to make a meaningful difference, so why even try?

But when we join together and do the same action, repeated across the world, there is serious power. It is not enough to simply stand alone and yell as loud as you can – you’ll never be heard above the noise. But when you combine your voice with the voices of others, you multiply each other, and become stronger. At this level, substantial change can truly be made. Local action on its own is great, but local action, coordinated with other local actions – that’s a movement.

It’s one thing to know this.

It’s another thing to actually see it happening before your eyes.

At our September kickoff meeting, youth from around the world gathered together to do something real. I met over fifty young people who cared about climate change just like I do. Now, I have the pleasure of being part of a community where we are discovering our powerful abilities as active citizens together, holding our cities accountable for doing their part to end the climate crisis. Throughout every step of the campaign, we are there to support each other, whether that’s through problem-solving when things inevitably go wrong, or celebrating when things inevitably go right.

I realize that there are plastics in my body, toxins in the air, poisons in our rivers, and that the people who contribute the least to climate change will suffer the most, and that none of this is just, and even though I realize all this, I still feel hopeful. Because if there are other people out there, just like me, feeling the way I do, then I can have faith that the world isn’t such a messed-up place.

As activists, our job cannot always be to save the world. Some days, we just won’t be up for that. But we can always strive to create some beauty, peace, and joy in the world. That will always be worth doing.

Want to join our community, find hope, and make a meaningful impact? Just want to talk? Email me at maddie.mcgwire@gmail.com.

2 Comments
  • Andrew Berggren
    Posted at 14:06h, 26 October

    Touching words <3

  • Andrew Berggren
    Posted at 14:06h, 26 October

    Touching words <3