This column began in 2014.
I was taken aback by the vast gap between the enormity of the problem of climate change and our response. I resolved to generate a drumbeat of climate discussion to my beloved home area on the North Shore. I wanted it to be homegrown — relevant to our particular issues, cognizant of our strengths and weaknesses, aimed at no one and everyone. I had no idea if this idea would be recognized by the newspaper or my neighbors as a valuable tool to move us forward.
At the time, I would never have guessed that this column would run, with warm support from both publisher and readers, to its termination with the paper amid multiple crises in 2020.
Here we are, in the midst of a pandemic and an economic freefall, with climate change continuing to rear its relentless head despite its relegation to the back burner. The Chronicle will soon disappear, leaving many of us uncertain of how or — or if — its role can be filled elsewhere.
I used to facilitate talking circles where grievous harm was discussed and healing steps taken. Three questions were asked: What is lost? What is left? What is possible? Let’s look at those questions in the light of today’s upheaval.
What is lost? Control over our daily lives; parties and gatherings; trips and vacations; work; sports; a sense of security. Everyone will answer this differently, but it is important to ask it. Depression, anger and hopelessness are likely to seep in if we are not frank with ourselves with what is going on.
What is left? Again, everyone will have their own list. Mine includes health, love, Lake Superior, the sun, good food, adaptability and recorded music.
What is possible? This is where things get really interesting. When I started this column, my world felt too complacent. We needed a shake-up.
Well, we have gotten that! Pick whatever keeps you awake at night: climate upheaval; an uncontrollable, contagious, deadly disease; a livelihood on pause; kids without structure in their lives. It’s when things are shifting that we can envision a different future.
How about this? How about a future with air so clear that even in cities you can see the stars, achieved not by shutting down the old system but by developing a new one. Our temporary COVID-19 window has shown us it is entirely possible, and entirely up to us to act and adapt as a global population, to bring this seeming impossibility into reality. Now that is a future worth getting a little shaken up for.
I will keep writing, though I can’t tell you the platform at this moment. I hope our conversation continues. On my end, it’s been a precious privilege. See you in the new world.
Katya Gordon is a volunteer for the Citizens' Climate Lobby and a Two Harbors resident.