Three on Tuesday After the Storm

Last night, as I stared at images of the devastation in New York, I swear I heard the metronomic sound of Al Gore’s voice, that southern hint of authority, recite full passages from An Inconvenient Truth. I imagined him shaking his head yesterday, so sad to be proven right. I kind of know this to be the case, because Al lives on my shoulder.

All day, I carried this sinking unease: the realization (again) that we—collectively, as in first world humans—have brought this upon ourselves. My walking places and light turning off, my farmers’ market love, that’s nothing in the face of those crashing, overarching waves, right? This is all so much bigger than we are and yet, all we can do finally is make changes on the human scale and the scale of many humans deciding together to do the right thing—and then do it.

For now, An Inconvenient Truth has skyrocketed to “most chilling” film status right next to Silkwood.

For now, here are three things I think we can do—and that I’m going to do. One is to donate some money to help matters: Red Cross, an organization that’s working on environmental justice in whatever way, you name it. Contribute. Second, a week from today, please VOTE. I will vote for the candidate more willing to acknowledge and act upon the climate crisis and the one that believes in FEMA as a necessary institution. Third thing, I think we can take one more step, even a teeny one, toward our own investment in the world we want to live in. To work against or in fear of really does not make people change; to work towards a vision—ideally one that is joyful—that’s how we get exactly where we want to go. Or at least that’s how we get near.

I am, this morning, grateful, really and truly grateful that my family is fine—the ones at school (!!!) and the ones farther afield; I’m grateful for the tiny practice I engage in each morning—I glance out the window and note the sky—grateful because it grounds me in an appreciation of the outdoors, even when I am inside; and I’m grateful other people feel similarly: reading this op-ed about oysters just now affirmed it. Here’s to the oysters—and all they represent about our ability to repair and hold tenderly until heartiness can take hold, or root or find its way in the sea.

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Author: Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser

Sarah Werthan Buttenwieser's work has appeared on the New York Times, Salon, and the Manifest Station amongst other places. Find her on Twitter @standshadows

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