by Yasmina Haddad
Before joining the Walk to Divest earlier this year, I had been coping with climate change by remaining blissfully ignorant about the whole thing. It was never a topic I confronted because, quite honestly, it always felt like a “hopeless cause.” But then, I learned firsthand just how disproportionately climate change affects communities and I realized that I don’t get to be someone who just ignores climate change. I have to be someone who uses my privilege to fight for our planet.
During the Walk to Divest, we spent our evenings hearing from experts. Some were experts because they had studied climate change and others were experts because they are survivors of natural disasters caused by climate change. I was repeatedly confronted with realities that seemed too big to comprehend and, in the face of those realities, the phrase “hopeless cause” often came to mind. And yet, the speakers, leaders, and climate activists always seemed to have an endless supply of hope! It was quite the mystery to me, but I followed along because, after all, I was pretty new to the community.
As mysterious as the hope was to me, it felt real and it felt palpable. It kept us walking, singing, praying and, above all else, it got us to St. Louis and through General Assembly. I was honored to be a part of a hopeful community of determined Presbyterians.
In those few weeks, I learned a lot about what a collective hope looks and feels like. As it turns out, a hope that is shared and sustained by so many is pretty long lasting! In the weeks and months following our journey, I felt more hopeful than ever before (even though we did not get the outcome we were advocating for). I was still hopeful for progress and change because I was so amazed by the strength of the people I walked alongside, the parts of Indiana I didn't know existed, and the God who brought us all together
Now that seasons have changed, Advent is starting, and I have been asked to write this blog post, I am so happy to report that my hope for the future of this Earth and its people is still here. It’s still here because this community, FFPCUSA, is still here and as strong as ever.
The people who taught me and walked with me are still posting on Facebook and scheduling Zoom meetings. They are sending postcards, checking in, and dropping in for visits. They are organizing, planning, and creating. They are writing emails, praying, and, every once in a while, taking rest.
We are holding each other accountable and challenging each other to become better stewards of and advocates for our Earth. The strength is still here, so the hope remains as well! Thank God for community, hope, and the strength that keeps us going.
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