22 August 2010

On Climate Change, Old Friends and Fun

In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed.
— Sid Caesar

I just spent a wonderful week with my best friend from my childhood and her husband. It was a vacation week for me, and it was both fun and delicious.

These friends are meat eaters from beef country who decided "when in Rome, do as the Romans do." After several days of vegan fare, they admitted that vegan food is actually — and surprisingly — quite delicious. They lost weight this week, feel lighter and look better. They're talking about going vegetarian one day a week. We haven't converted them to a fully veg diet (and weren't trying to), but they're going home much more open-minded about it.

Another neat part of the visit was morning walks with my friend's husband, who works for an oil company. Our conversations were a study in finding common ground. Asking him about peak oil led to a discussion about the fact that the Stone Age didn't end when they ran out of stones. He's all for energy conservation and making the transition to renewable energy technology — recognizing, as I do, that we're going to need today's fossil fuels to gear up for tomorrow's Solar Age. (What I mean is, there's only one company that I've heard of that is using solar energy to manufacture solar panels.) He went from thinking climate change is probably due to natural cycles to understanding that the rate of change is unprecedented — and our inability to adapt rapidly enough to this kind of disruption in the climate system is the problem.

And you know what else? We had fun. We laughed. We told jokes and recounted funny old memories. We caught up on family news. We showed them our favourite nearby places. We walked and talked and broke bread together. We sat around the table and chatted for hours. We watched two movies together, a favourite of theirs and a favourite of ours; one made us cry, one made us laugh.

All that reminded me that, well, there's still life to live while I'm living. I love this life so much that I want to spend the rest of mine safeguarding all life, for all living things. But I want to enjoy it, too.

So here's to remembering that we can have fun along the way, whether it's a bit of fun each day or a fun vacation every once in a while. Saving the world is serious business, but it needn't be totally serious.
Today was good. Today was fun. Tomorrow is another one.
— Dr. Seuss

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?