Storytelling to Inspire Climate Hope by Maria Auma Horne
The global pandemic has swept through lives and communities all over the world leaving some families disheartened, affecting livelihoods and completely changing the way we view our daily habits and nature. In this trying time, a lot of people have gone inward to do some soul searching and outward to share an appreciation for the environment.
I remember quite clearly when I attended the HLPF session in July 2019 and I co-moderated a side event on “People and Nature” it really dawned on me that the environment is a soul remedy, it heals us. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that 10 months down the road I would be reflecting on how nature has done exactly that for me and my community. It is not without saying that a novel situation which is life-threatening is often frightening, and can result in bouts of depression. And perhaps the miracle in the moment is being grateful for this little patch of green that our community has where birds come out to sing and the chipmunks and squirrels scurry along oblivious to the apparent danger we as humans are facing.
These long walks I had reflecting as I walked the forest path gave me not only serenity but also clarity as to the extent of destruction dealt to mother nature and the climate. As humans, we are learning to fall in love again with the fundamentals of life. Instead of scrambling to catch the next plane to the next conference (a habit that a lot of us are prone to), or getting absorbed in our work into the dead of the night, we are growing family ties and tending to gardens, we are picking up litter and being conscious of our food waste. We are doing the little things needed of us to reduce pollution and breathe in cleaner air.
This perhaps should be a behavior that we fully adopt as human beings - to show compassion and love to nature and the climate as we do our individual relationships.
The earth needs us to be steadfast stewards by protecting her biodiversity; the trees, the animals, life in the ocean, the birds in the skies - they need our help to keep this earth livable for the next generation. Climate change is not just about the pollution, it is also about how little actions can add up to drastic effects, and how we in our own capacities can avert catastrophes by simply choosing to do the right thing every day. It could be as simple as switching off the lights when not in use, or as big as lobbying for green jobs for youth. In a time when young people are raising their voices to speak up for climate justice, it is timely for the rest of the demographic to do their part, particularly in the education approach where children have a desire to learn more about caring for the environment so they can have a place to call home.
This is why our organization in collaboration with RESI and Our Kids Climate decided to commemorate Earth Day by launching a picture book for children, to share with children everywhere the importance of protecting this earth from a carbon polluted atmosphere that can result in destruction and increase in the devastating effects caused by natural disasters like floods and landslides.
It was a joy completing this book during this trying time because there is a way that stories soothe the mind and give us hope for the future. Hope that little actions can result into big beautiful changes and hope that if we invest in educating our children about the need to care for this earth, that there will still be clean water for them and their children to drink from when they grow up, birds to wake them up in the morning and yes, a big beautiful patch of green and fresh air in the city where they can go to heal their soul and find serenity. And hopefully, they will, in turn, tell their children the story of how the people of the earth took action to protect it from the threat of global warming.
About the Author
Maria Auma Horne is a Ugandan born climate activist and co-founder of Better Living Initiatives Global (BLI Global) a non-profit that empowers communities to achieve sustainability through projects focusing on environment, health and education. She is an Africa Youth Climate Hub ambassador and a member of YOUNGO.