“You’re probably right,” said Bean. She sat up. “What if we did our science project on teaching grown-ups to be happy in nature? Is that a global warming solution?”
from Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea?
written by Annie Barrows
illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Chronicle Books, 2010
Although I know people who have read C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, I am not one who has. I have not even read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I am okay with that. There are lots (and lots) of books I have not read.
Narnia is part of our collective culture, though, much like Hogwarts. References to both abound and scholarly as well as frivolous commentary is easy to find.
One thousand points of light (today’s title) is a reference to Aslan’s creation of stars in C. S. Lewis’s fantastic world, Narnia. Presidents have commented on it.
The first George Bush, in accepting the presidential nomination at the Republican National Convention in 1988, compared America's clubs and volunteer organizations to “a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.”
Later, toward the end of the speech, he assured us all that he would “keep America moving forward, always forward—for a better America, for an endless enduring dream and a thousand points of light.”
One point of light, or one candle, can both define and defy darkness, as Anne Frank said so well. She was right. About that and so many other things, but I digress.
One point of light is small. The light quickly dissipates into surrounding darkness. But a thousand lights, now that’s something.
One person working to help protect our Earth can quickly get swallowed up in the darkness of ignorance, apathy, and despair. But a thousand people working together, now that’s really something.
One thousand points of light are scattered around the world, doing good work. I’ve mentioned a lot of them in this space. Sivan Ya’ari’s work brings solar energy and consequently water and refrigeration to African nations. The fine folks at https://www.eatortoss.com help us not waste food. Boyan Slat created a barrier system designed to collect and remove trash from the Pacific Ocean without disrupting marine life. His first try failed, but he’s trying again.
Greta Thunberg, 16 year-old Swedish climate activist who speaks truth to power, is in a class by herself. Last year she began to sit outside her Parliament building every Friday to protest for our climate. This past weekend she spoke for four and a half powerful minutes at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.
Her message is clear. If we continue not talking about solutions, if we continue not acting on measures to reverse the damage we have already caused, if we continue not uniting as one human race that needs to work together, the earth and all her inhabitants are doomed. It is not an easy message to hear, or deliver.
But it is important.
Of course it’s on YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGVShq47C4o
I hope you watch. It may change your life, or your children’s lives.
The United Nations has an outline for the Climate Summit 2019, wrapping up as I finish this writing. Their several action-strategies converge to create a lazar-focused plan, that when implemented, may make a difference.
“We must change course by 2020, …or we risk missing the point where we can avoid the ‘disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.’”
Here are the pieces of the UN plan:
- Focus on women around the world as agents of change.
- Find consensus on the need to strengthen the resilience to climate impacts, focusing on the poorest and most vulnerable.
- Provide successful Early Warning Systems (EWS) to saves lives and jobs, land and infrastructures and support long-term sustainability.
- Create 24 million new Green jobs globally by 2030, to provide sustainable practices.
- Accelerate efforts by policy makers and administrators to address climate change in cities around the world to keep pace with population growth and the rapid climate change.
- Assign to Parties of the Convention the responsibility to educate and make the public aware of climate change and ensure public participation in programs.
Thousands and thousands of people participated in the Global Climate Strike last Friday. Patterned after Greta’s Friday protests. YouthClimateStrike.org was instrumental in organizing events all over the world. I (and about 70 other people) participated in an event right in Youngstown, Ohio.
Kids and adults spoke about important ideas, from exercising your right to vote to encouraging sustainable local farming.
Thousands of people care. Thousands more are overwhelmed by the dire circumstances we find ourselves in.
As Greta Thunberg reminds us, “Only through action will the human race be able to hope for survival.”
We all need hope.
We all need to act.
-—stay curious! (and hopeful)