One Cool Island: How do we cope with the challenges we face?
By DARLENE GAGE
Transition Salt Spring
There is something changing in the air. Can you feel it?
Rain, heat, smoke.
Fear, division, loss.
It can be overwhelming to experience so much change and upheaval in such a short period of time.
As humans, we are hard-wired to seek out security, and that seems to be in short supply these days.
We all need some hope that things will get better, that we will manage, that we can adapt to the changes and even thrive (despite or because of them).
Want to know how to reconnect to hope?
Get busy with people you like.
Volunteer your time.
Give money to causes you believe in.
Share your anxieties with people you trust.
Connect with your neighbours.
Lower your consumption on the daily.
Walk or bike when you can. In a forest. By the sea.
Use your voice to push our leaders to wake up and smell yee olde coffee.
Learn from those who’ve come before, and those whose voices you’ve not heard before.
It’s like exercise, this muscle called ‘hope’. It needs to be used time and again to get stronger.
As the Talmud counsels us, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.“
Over here on the climate action end of the work, Transition Salt Spring has been super busy this past year pushing to make sure that some of the most important of the 250 recommendations from our Climate Action Plan are implemented.
While we are the only group on Salt Spring Island fully dedicated to addressing the climate crisis, this work can only be done by working with others. We believe that it’s only in collective action that we can actually hope to see results in the time we have left to address the climate crisis.
And it’s not always easy — this working together. We disagree, we get hurt and we hurt each other. We get tired. We lose hope. Then, we try again. We apologize, we rest, we care for each other. And we get busy again. And our hearts are filled.
“How busy?” you ask.
Well, through our Climate Action Coach Program we’ve helped over 700 residents (in two short months!) access rebates and information about home renovations to save energy and money and reduce emissions. Everything from heat pumps and insulation, to rainwater collection and windows. And in the new year, with incentives to upgrade that old wood stove!
Transition Salt Spring is delivering regular webinars to help us all understand what the coming climate change impacts will be and what it will all mean for us right here at home. This past year alone has seen 10 webinars attended by close to 1,000 people. We make sure there are ongoing social and print media and community outreach tables and materials to accelerate our learning.
Transition is working to restore ecosystems like our new Lake Maxwell watershed project that will help us protect this precious source of water from deepening drought and the increasing risk of forest fires. We will share what we learn with every community in the region that supports Coastal Douglas-fir forests.
Transition Salt Spring facilitates the Climate Action Network that brings local agencies and experts together to set climate priorities, learn and collaborate on new projects. The Lake Maxwell project is the first to spring from this collaboration.
We also support six working groups like the Electric Vehicle Group, the Rainbow Road Community Gardens, and the Native Plant Stewardship Group. You can start your own group any time. And we are here to help.
Transition is working hard to put climate change at the top of the agenda with actions like the Climate Strike Rally and through our advocacy, pushing local and provincial officials to act with much-needed urgency.
But we can’t do this alone. Come join us, won’t you? Volunteer, donate, learn. We invite you to get busy with us.
Transition Salt Spring has embarked on our annual giving campaign. Our December target is to raise $25,000 to keep up this important work. There’s no better time since a generous island donor is matching every dollar you give until Jan. 2, 2022.
And new this year is our ‘Give the Gift of Local Climate Action’ program where you can donate on behalf of a friend or family member. Choose that option and we will send them a card to let them know how much you care about them and their future.
As the year comes to a close, and we find time for some reflection, I urge each of you to choose hope. Choose action. Choose community.
On behalf of all of us at Transition Salt Spring, you have our deep gratitude.
One Cool Island is a regular series produced by Transition Salt Spring. Darlene Gage is the TSS programs manager and a local leader in the field of restorative justice. To support our work and learn more: transitionsaltspring.com.