Life in a Climate Emergency: How Can We Move Forward?

Life in a Climate Emergency: How Can We Move Forward?
By Caroline Beddoe

I was sitting on my roof on a warm summer evening, overlooking the Wolfville dykelands and Cape Blomidon basked in the soft golden light, when I was overcome with grief. What will this landscape look like in a few years? How can we be destroying our beautiful planet with such greed? The science is clear: We are in the midst of an ecological catastrophe. An existential crisis. A climate emergency.

It isn’t easy to ponder an ecological collapse when all you really want is to enjoy a tranquil sunset. But this is the reality of living in a climate crisis. Living in a climate crisis means to feel distress and grief as the environment around us changes. It means to feel an overwhelming, gnawing sense of anxiety, and it means experiencing pervasive, insidious feelings of not knowing – not knowing what will happen, not knowing what to do.

How do we fundamentally transform our society to prevent ecological collapse? How do we face an existential threat and not get crushed by the weight of the pain? But as I sat there, I could hear my roommates playing music together on the deck, strumming guitars, voices chiming in. And it made me realize that we already have what we need to help us cope and navigate the way forward. We already have music, creativity, love, and community, and this is what we need to help us express both our pain and grief, and also our hopeful narratives for a better world.

This is a climate emergency after all, but it is also the possibility for emergence from our current destructive system towards a more regenerative, compassionate, and sustainable culture. Through art forms, storytelling, music, and the warmth of community, we can create inclusive and safe spaces in our lives to acknowledge our emotions and to grieve, to talk openly and to feel the pain of the climate crisis, and to provide hope and support through collaboration, new narratives, and the beauty of art. And this is already happening in our community in many ways.

In particular, on Friday, September 20, to kick off events as part of a global week of climate action, compassionate community members are organizing a special event in Wolfville. Our Fragile Earth: Musical Gathering and Experiences will provide a space for everyone to share their hopes and aspirations for a better world. Hosted at the Wolfville Farmers’ Market, the event will include a songwriting workshop and performance hosted by Kim Barlow and Terra Spencer, a local harvest supper, and a late night dance party with The Melburns. At this event, we can work collectively against destruction and despair through music, food, dance, creativity and community!

Life in a climate emergency is difficult and painful, and sometimes we need to sit and cry, but watching the sun set with music in my ears, I remembered that creativity and community can provide a beautiful way forward, and I’m hopeful that we can do this together.