For 30+ years I lived on my beautiful farm on the idyllic eastern slopes of the Duck Mountains in Manitoba. About 2 years ago, I retired from teaching and found myself with a lot of time on my hands in a fairly remote area.
I now had time to focus on issues that mattered to me … a lot. As an environmental feminist since the 70s, climate change became foremost and with it severe eco-anxiety (by this website definition: https://gendread.substack.com/p/why-activism-isnt-really-the-cure).
When I woke up every morning, I knew that I had 1-2 SECONDS of peace before the rat would start gnawing my guts out. For many weeks the only thing I could eat was one sandwich per day. The rat wouldn’t allow any more food to enter my mouth, let alone my stomach. The anxiety would abate over the course of the day as I meditated, prayed, and reached out to friends. Each night I was fearful of going to sleep because I knew what awaited me in the morning.
Eventually, I sold my place (it was time, no regrets) and moved to the town where I was born, about 90 km. from the farm.
Since then, my anxiety has decreased to mild/medium with a therapist’s help, self-talk, distractions of urban living, and membership in a local environmental organization.
I choose not to have a vehicle as I can walk almost anywhere in about 15-30 minutes; in summer, I cycle. On my walks, I pick up litter, mostly plastic, and add it to my TerraCycle box from a Canadian company that will take plastics, including Styrofoam, that most recycling programs won’t. I have not watched/listened to the news for several years and this has helped immensely.
As part of my self-talk (and on Zoom with climate activists), I describe how I believe we’re on the tipping point, as Malcolm Gladwell describes it … that we’re in a period of transition and, like the birth process, that’s the most difficult. The result is a new birth, a new being.
So, I work at reminding myself of these three things:
- that a small group of dedicated people is the catalyst for the necessary changes,
- the butterfly effect may be invisible and it is real, and
- that my tiny efforts will effect unimaginable change.
I pray for strength and grace and get both in abundance. Thanks be to our sweet, loving Creator.
Submitted by Esther.