With so many issues capture my attention that I sometimes retreat into the safe and familiar, to projects that occupy my mind and hands. I write, work on genealogy, do chores. I read, a lot. My days fall into a pattern of virtual meetings with friends and writing groups, so something beckons on each page of my planner. But I cannot ignore the long list of issues that threaten to topple my sanity. I couldn’t escape this morning into my journal, too many huge problems plunged me into despair: climate degradation, homelessness, addiction, unemployment, famine, persecution, reproductive rights, inequality, health care, sex trafficking, child abuse, public education, fraud at high levels, immigration, international unrest, racism, shootings.
Every single issue is vital to our future. How to deal with it all? Well, good mental health often demands chunking a problem, not trying to do more than is individually possible. I stay informed, keep up with the news twice a day. Read in some depth about selected issues. And then I retreat into what I can manage, my own health and well being. I walk at a distance from neighbors, I wear a mask. I don’t eat out or go to the grocery store. Food and supplies come to me thanks to a caring family.
But when I look at that list of seemingly insolvable problems, I notice that climate degradation still heads my list. If we cannot breathe clean air, drink clean water, survive sea-level rise and increasingly violent storms, then we cannot begin to address any of the other problems. So, I’ll continue to do my best to live simply, pay attention to household trash, voice my concerns to people in power, and remind my readers here that we have only one planet. We won’t be resettling Mars. Please, be informed, be pro-active, be in love with the wonderful world we still have, and know that it’s at risk.