Jenny Rayshuns-Toocome spread open her great-grandmother’s huge scrapbook. “Never forget the 20-20 foresight folks had in 2020,” Granny had admonished her. “Those were hard times, but we kept our wits about us and thought of you, Dearie.”
Gone now but fondly remembered, Jenny flipped through Granny’s collection of news clippings and mementos. Articles about Covid-19, racial unrest, unemployment, and school and childcare challenges filled the first half of the book. The second half was entitled: Environment.
And oh, the articles that filled those pages! Rising global temperatures resulted in the nine hottest years on record occurring in the fifteen years prior to 2020. The increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases melted the sea ice in the Arctic so that only 50% remained compared to that of the 1980s. Then the fires! The number of square miles burned annually across the three west coast states was six times the average between 1950 and 2000. The hurricane season? - a record breaker! Meteorologists had to reach beyond the English alphabet with Greek letters to name the oh-so-numerous storms. All-in-all it was a financial, infrastructural and human-misery mess.
Clearly, something had to change. Perhaps an inspiring message from Dr. Sandra Steingraber triggered that change. ”We are all musicians in a great human orchestra, and it is now time to play the Save the World Symphony. You are not required to play a solo, but you ARE required to know what instrument you hold and play it as well as you can. You are required to find your place in the score.”
One by one the “instruments” began to join that musical score. Clean, renewable energy and battery storage became the low-cost, preferred option for energy generation. Then Covid-19 forced much of society to shift to at-home work and distance learning so transportation fuel use dropped, and the skies began to clear. Society was beginning to embrace the fact that transitioning away from dirty fossil fuels didn’t have to mean monetary pain but could actually mean financial savings and economic growth.
As the “instruments” tuned up, all that was still needed was effective policy and leadership to direct the Save the World Symphony. With 20-20 foresight, folks headed to the polls and chose conductors who would wisely direct that great human orchestra and save their planetary home where countless future generations to come will be forever… Earthbound.