Sunday, June 23, 2024

Earth Month Reflections – Climate Generation

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It’s Earth Month, good people. A designated time to pause, reflect and take action to save our only home. It’s also spring in the northern hemisphere, the forsythia, irises, crocus, and lungwort are beginning to bloom. The season of growth is upon us.

I’ve been thinking about growth a lot lately. Growth as an economic indicator that centers consumerism. Growth as a measure of organizational – nonprofit and for profit – success. Except that growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of a cancer cell, and equating growth with success and economic health has led us to a planet whose ocean’s are filled with plastic, where we ship tons of used clothing to the global south to sit in landfills, and where extraction to fuel growth continues to render Earth less livable.

Climate Generation had a moment where we too were invested in growing for the sake of growth. We touted our growing annual budget, as if that is a measure of anything. We rapidly expanded our team, leaning into great work we are proud of. To be honest, we weren’t centering the sustainability of our work. After a great deal of painful consideration, we have made the decision to prioritize Climate Generation’s long-term health, to steward well our resources, and right-size the organization for the work that we are called to do in the world. We know that solving the climate crisis requires us to work in urgency and simultaneously build for a long game. We have lost some team members in this process, and are saddened by this. 

Our work these past few years has not always been external. We are thinking about how to measure not just what we do, but how we do it by finding ways to honor and measure our process goals. We are making sure our work aligns with our guiding principles, explicitly. We are trying to count things like ‘how many times did we laugh together today?’ and ‘how have we cultivated gratitude this week?’ We are ready to embrace the future and the important work of the just transition. 

In the midst of the challenges of these past few weeks, including the general state of the world,  I found the writings of Canadian environmentalist Trevor Lehmann grounding. I share these with you hoping that you find them helpful too.

“Know that you have a place in this world, that humanity needs you as we all have a role to play in the crises afflicting our world. Life is uncertain, life is uncomfortable, life is cruel, and yet life is brilliant.”

Happy Earth Month.

Susan Phillips
Executive Director

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