By RM Allen, author of “NH Goddess Chronicles” series. http://www.NHgoddess.com
This summer solstice weekend we had guests and they brought their two active dogs. This is nothing new, every one brings their dogs when they come to visit us at our summer farmhouse. As the car pulled into our driveway and the family all spilled out, suddenly a red flag went up: protect the nest!
For the past few weeks we had been keeping an eye on a small mud and moss nest a pair of Phoebes had built under the back porch. I quietly excused myself and went around the back of the house. The pile of eyes in the nest looked on in silent alarm as a poster-sized chunk of chicken wire was slowly and strategically secured to obstruct possible sniffing canine snouts. I had not been so close to the nest before, and now I noticed those babies were just about big enough to leave the nest. I hoped the chicken wire would hold through the weekend so the babies could begin their flying lessons in a few days. I would remove the chicken wire as soon as the visitors left.
However, the next day while washing the dishes, I looked out the window at some kind of fluttering and chirping sky-ruckus near the nest. Darn it – the dogs! As I ran out the door, my dripping hands grabbed a dish towel to shoo the dogs away from the nest. Only when I got outside, no dogs were in sight. I peeked under the porch. The nest was empty. I looked on the ground fearing the worst. No dead birds. I looked around in the nearby peach tree: no nervous parents, in fact no birds at all. All was quiet in the dappled sunshine. My pessimism turned to optimism. Every bird had successfully fledged and I had seen it through the window! Although I didn’t know it at the time……
This is also what I think about the Paris Climate Summit. We witnessed history, but don’t really know it at this time (as a people).
This climate tipping point had been coming on for years through the work of global-warming harbingers like Bill McKibben. And then one year ago (at summer solstice as I recall) Pope Francis issued his climate change encyclical, which set the stage for global cooperation at a two-week conference scheduled for December 2015 in Paris, France. The 2015 Paris conference coordinator, Christiana Figueres, worked tirelessly (for years) and succeeded in getting 195 countries to show up and submit their plan of action. The “Paris Agreement” was signed by all at the end of the two weeks. This was pretty much a shocker after the failed Copenhagen Climate Summit. It has taken a while to settle in, but I keep reading news articles about smart new initiatives world leaders are embracing as they enact their plans of action. It is exciting.
In her recent TED Talk, Ms. Figueres tells the inside story of the Paris Agreement. She speaks on injecting “relentless optimism” into the system. Her slides show exactly how optimism spread in advance of and then at the conference, and how that optimism was transformational. I submit to you, on this shimmering summer solstice day 2016, that on a global scale this optimism has fledged just like my little Phoebes. We (as a people) may not be expert flyers yet, but at least we have finally left the nest – and just in time.
Whether we were once ignorant of climate change, or understood and felt hopeless despair, or even were once a climate-denier, I propose that optimism has carried the day. I don’t say this naively: there is still much work to do and things will never quite be the same. But the bottom line is this: climate optimism has fledged.
Watch Christiana Figueres here and get inspired!