Young People and the Weight of the World

This summer we have experienced day after day of hot, muggy weather; far from adequate rain has fallen and the earth and plants are often parched. We are in the midst of yet another dry summer, a clear indication that climate change has taken a strong hold on our local climate.

The climate news from afar is worse, and threatens to become more so. The adage that weather is local and climate is global has taken on new meaning as local events knit together to bring us a clear picture of the ways human activity is reshaping thew earth’s climate. These changes have been accumulating for over a century, but now the pace and severity of change is rapidly accelerating and the effects are increasingly dramatic.

At the same time our collective production of greenhouse gasses continues to increase rather than diminish, as does our use of finite resources. All of this is intensified by a seemingly ever more uneven distribution of opportunity. Even as our leaders assure us that all is well and will become ever better, we seem to be on a collision course with reality.

While many people seem unphased by these trends, the young people who approach me for aid feel the weight of the world, very often reporting alarm, and all too frequently, feeling powerless to bring about meaningful change. My task is to encourage and support them, and to remind them that many generations face perilous times. As we talk I seek to provide some balm for their fears, nurture their lives and visions, and enhance their ability to forgive themselves for what they are unable to do. Often I remind them that we individuals must do as we are able but communities of purpose can do a great deal more than individuals to change the direction of societies.

All of this is not much and it is what I can offer. I hope you will take time this week to talk to the young people around you, express gratitude to them for their efforts to achieve a just and sustainable world, and remind them that you are an ally in the task.

3 thoughts on “Young People and the Weight of the World

  1. Great suggestion, Michael. We have had cooler weather this past week, with lower humidity and a little rain. Right now a cool night breeze in coming in the window next to me. It feels so good.

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