Too often we don’t see the heart behind the charge to combat climate change. The climate waters are still too muddy. We see wealthy fossil-fuel tycoons launching multi-million dollar campaigns designed to attack the truth about man-made climate change. We see the scientific community growing stronger and louder as they report the science and urgency of the climate crisis. We see activists urging us ambiguously to “act on climate.” We see politicians simultaneously arguing over the validity of the facts, the price of mitigation, the best long-term alternative measures, and whether Earth is even warming in the first place.
Then there are moments when we get a glimpse at the heart of our climate crisis. A quiet voice steps in offering some perspective to those willing to listen. This time the voice was that of a Navajo chief in Arizona. This story came via Steve Martin and his blog 7millionsteps. (You’ll want to read Steve’s complete blog post at http://7millionsteps.com/2014/04/09/pheonix-rally.)
Steve embarked on his own journey as part of the Great March for Climate Action, and joins the group in traveling on foot from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. They launched the march at a California rally on March 1, and will arrive in the nation’s capital on November 1.
Their first landmark stop was Phoenix. Steve tells the simple, poignant story about how the Navajo chief asked those who planned to march the entire route to step forward. He offered them a blessing and presented each with a tribal stone to carry for the duration of the march. “Their concerns for the earth and their tribal lands are traveling with us,” Steve writes.
I can only imagine the clarity in that brief moment. This is the heart of the climate crisis. This is what is at risk: our home.
We all need that quiet experience—the opportunity to block out the manufactured controversy and the conflicting voices. We need to see the heart of the climate crisis. You don’t need to be a Navajo chief. You don’t need to be displaced by rising sea waters or driven from your home after crippling storms or devastating drought. You just need to be a citizen of the world. Recognize what is happening to our planet. Do what is in your power to change our future. Raise your hand. You can do more than you think.
I am grateful to Steve for sharing one of his climate moments. It resides next to my own list of occasions when the heart of the climate crisis speaks.