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  • Leslie Milbourne

Reflections on Climate Change

Updated: Feb 14

On Friday mornings I often feel a duty to be on the streets of DC supporting youth efforts for climate change and their commitment to having their voice heard through “Fridays for Future”. However, guiding and enjoying beautiful young children here at Wind Dance is what I am choosing. When preparing for Fridays at Wind Dance, I often think about youth who are striking and working for climate change and my heart reaches out to them and I support them in ways that I can – contributing to climate change organizations, staying abreast on climate change updates, doing things here on our farm and at the education center to maintain and reduce our carbon footprint. And I wonder, what else can I do without marching the streets of DC on Fridays? And I think about modeling, working, and educating for change – change in the way we think - thinking that will influence action.


I began this newsletter back in December 2019, when climate talks began in Madrid Spain, where heads of countries gathered to discuss strategies to dramatically reduce greenhouse emissions and sequester the unprecedented high levels of atmospheric CO2. I am concerned – very concerned. And again, I wonder, what can I do? I can’t attend the Friday Climate Strikes. I need to do something – doing nothing gets us nowhere, except on the same course we are traveling on. One way I can take action is to reach out to others. I began with educating your children and now I am reaching out to you.

Youth attending Global Climate Strike

I often wonder about all of you and your stance on climate change.


What are you doing in your lives to help keep a low carbon footprint?

Do you understand how a physical greenhouse works?

Do you understand how the earth’s “greenhouse” naturally works?

Do you understand that climate has naturally changed for the past 4.5 billion years?

Do you understand how humans have altered that natural course, known as anthropogenic (human generated) climate change?


And…. Are you concerned? Or perhaps disagree?


I wonder and contemplate.


I think about the disheartening price we are paying, and are going to pay as we continue to burn fossil fuels and support industrialized agriculture. I think about extraordinary species extinction rates, intense storms and floods, rising sea levels, and fierce fires. I think about the American pika in the Sierra Nevada range trying to survive hotter summers and attempting to relocate to higher elevations, but it can only go so high before it struggles to survive. I think about the arguments laid out by the fossil fuel industries that these events are “normal”. I think about the data scientists have accumulated and record weather events. And I think some more – thinking is where to begin. If we don’t think about it, we can remain ignorant and complacent, and worse – not have a reason to care.


Looking closely

I try to keep your children connected to what is important – nature, as we peer down close to the earth with a magnifying glass to view the tender, yet resilient, reindeer moss and lichen gracing the hillsides protecting precious soil from eroding away, and the flight of the goldfinch as it undulates away from the feeders. Connecting to the earth will instill loving and caring for her. We also talk about climate change. Step by step.





If we want children to flourish, to become truly empowered, then let us allow them to love the earth before we ask them to save it. ~David Sobel

It is important for all of us to think about climate change and the way we think about it. It is important to talk about it, If we acknowledge there is a problem, we are more likely to act. If we understand the science behind the problem, we can understand the solutions. The solutions already exist. We know what we can do. It is in implementing the solutions that will enable us to reverse human caused climate change.

Journal reflection after reading Sand County Almanac

Education is a step in the process. We are trying our best to become educated and to educate others at Wind Dance.


Students and educators are learning together and I invite you to walk this path with us.


The timing in reaching out to others is impeccable. It is amazing how the universe works. The director of the Morgan County Library has asked our group to put a display together about Climate Change for this March. I was thrilled - it as an opportunity to educate and inform others – just what I was thinking!


Some of the kids have been working on posters – similar to the way I teach about climate change, one step at a time. They will be on display at Morgan County Public Library in March - please visit. Viewing the student posters and scientific charts and graphs really puts into perspective the overall picture of climate change – both natural and anthropogenic. When teaching the students, I first tackle how nature works, followed by our influences on the natural world – both positive and negative, and when it is negative, what we can do to take action to make changes. The display reflects that learning process.


Even though our community is not having homes burned up and wildlife killed in fierce fires as in Australia or living on an island in the Pacific Ocean that is being swallowed by rising sea levels and needing to relocate entire villages, and we are not a snowshoe hare living in the north where snow is melting earlier and exposure to predators is threatening survival, they are our earth neighbors. And it is not stopping there. The world’s climate has a huge influence on life on earth and we have created a situation that needs attention from all of us – it needs us to change – change the way we think and change the way we act. We need to move forward and “Think Globally, and Act Locally”. I look forward to you visiting the library display and all of us taking big steps together for a bright future.


"Live simply, so others can simply live."

Working for a healthy planet and people,

Leslie

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Wind Dance Farm & Earth Education Center
100 Wind Dance Trail
Berkeley Springs, WV 25411
304.258.0558
wind.dance@frontier.com

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