This was originally going to be an essay about darkness and light, about lighting a candle at the darkest time of year. That sort of thing.
In my heart, I know we need nothing less.
Yet, as much as I believe in the power of rekindling our hopes, about the need to rededicate ourselves to the primacy of hope ... especially when there is so much darkness ... it's clearly not enough, any more than it would have been enough in 1939.
I hardly need to describe the bleakness that overhangs us as I write these words at the outset of winter. These days shall pass, the solstice brings lengthening and brighter days. But while I don't consider myself a pessimist, I am a realist who knows that we've already begun to see a climate that's changing and will destroy life as it's been known on this planet for generations of various species. Unless we make drastic changes. Which we have not seemed inclined to do.
That makes me believe that we need to continue sharing our best hopes, shedding light wherever we can, encouraging one another and devoting ourselves to helping one another. We must be willing to making sacrifices and changing our behavior as global population approaches 7.8 billion and is expected to reach 8 billion in 2023. (It seems like just yesterday that it was 3.5 billion.)
Without making those sacrifices, without engaging in the kind of reality check that will result in electing leaders who can encourage us toward sane solutions, we face staggering costs in trying to cope with a vastly changing climate that some people now deal with by denial or lightheartedness. The political and social upheaval that we're now facing, the societal and economic dislocation that's becoming apparent and will only worsen requires us to become enlightened and denounce exceptionalism.
There can be no exceptions. The overwheming reality is that we need to work together to create a common future that embraces us all.
This is about coming together, acting as one in good faith. For that, we'll need lots more light than we've known.
For that, I pray. For that, I applaud the kind of leadership that we've seen from the likes of Greta Thunberg, Emma Gonzalez and other courageous young people who are desperately needed for our common future. We need to listen. To be open.
As we come upon 2020, I pray there can be vision. And light to guide us. Let us all do all that we can to bring that tomorrow about. And to dispel the darkness.