Envisioning Frederick through the eyes of climate change

Climate Change is such a paradigm shifting phenomenon that, as an individual, I find it hard to imagine what I could do to have a meaningful impact. I don’t have an electric car, but I do minimize my vehicle use by consolidating trips. I don’t have solar panels, but I do buy my electricity through renewable sources. I recycle and compost and use LED light bulbs.

But truly, the problem is so big and the cost so great that it’s hard to imagine any of this making a difference. There’s a numbing that occurs. But then, how can I, in good conscience, do nothing and leave my son’s generation to cope with rising sea levels, hurricanes, floods, droughts, fires, floods…

Over a meal at Panera’s, I recently asked a progressive friend in his early 20’s about the outlook of millennials toward the future. He observed that, in addition to climate change, millennials have been left with massive educational debt and a job market where, even though unemployment is at less than 5%, secure well-paying positions aren’t as common as they were for my generation. He said that millennials are less concerned with the divisive issues of abortion, gay rights and immigration, as they are with access to affordable medical care.

Are we experiencing a collective shift in outlooks and values at the same time as a collective shift is necessary to save the planet? Will acceptance of each other as human beings lead to acceptance of the right of all living things to live through mutually beneficial relationships?

If we can all get along, maybe we can work together to heal the planet. There’s a famous quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

Creating the Climate Change Working Group feels hopeful. Working together for a future in Frederick County with clean air, clean water, farms that grow food sustainably, meaningful work for everyone and a human footprint that leaves room for the natural world to thrive and wildlife to migrate feels possible.

It’s not too late.