It was still early in the morning, dark, and cold. The alarm had gone off decades ago, but I hit snooze over and over for years. Suddenly… it was like I heard a million voices screaming “wake up!” But we were all still sleeping, lucid dreaming into that moment when reality sets in. I pulled myself out of the soft, warm, comfortable bed. Balanced myself one foot over the other; headed down the stairs, out the door, and onto a small plane going to the island of Lanai in Hawaii.
Soon after arriving, I held my breath and dove into the ocean. I heard the clicks and whistles of dolphins in the distance, chased after an octopus swimming into a crevice in the coral, and watched a large lobster sneak under a ledge as I approached. All the while, there was a sense of urgency. What will become of our island home in this changing world we have created?
That trip to Lanai was like a dream, and then I woke up, distracted by business as usual. Where I live on Mount Tantalus in Honolulu the seasons pass so quietly one could miss them if they blinked, but each year it is impossible to ignore the increasing amounts of record breaking weather and climate related events happening all around the globe.
During the getaway weekend of exploration, I read and thought about ‘The end of nature’ in which Bill McKibben prophetically wrote that, “We are no longer able to think of ourselves as a species tossed about by larger forces- now we are those larger forces.” Climate change is real, it is happening now, and it will impact us all.
Island communities are especially vulnerable to impacts of climate change. I have big hopes and fears for this place where we are watching all these changes happen as is if we had no part in it. We have to wake up. This is our moment to do something and we can change the course of the future by exercising our power over the present in all the places we live.