Outrage and Hope at COP26

Rebecca Anderson

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November 2, 2021

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Last night, I joined my ACE teammate and ACE’s Social Media Manager, Raquel Martinez, at The North Face store in downtown Glasgow. Raquel, along with The North Face athlete Xavier De Le Rue and Protect Our Winters (POW) UK general manager Lauren MacCallum, and mediator Julian Lings of The North Face UK, spoke on the theme of Give Hope, Take Action

Their conversation revolved around, among other things, the connection between feelings of outrage and frustration over lack of climate action at the US national and international level, and feelings of continued optimism and hope. 

This conversation prompted me to explore this duality within myself as well. After well over a decade in the climate movement, how do I push on and persevere in the face of so much evidence of a worsening catastrophe? We know the science is not good and continues to pile up. We know that incremental action by our leaders is insufficient. We know we have an ever-narrowing window of opportunity to set the globe’s thermostat for centuries to come. 

At times, the weight of this knowledge is hard to bear. I feel it in myself and I see it in the eyes of the young people I work with. Sometimes I want to give up. Or at least step away and take a break. Which I know now is not only okay, but also completely necessary to fight this fight for the long term. Young people have actually been some of my best teachers on how to manage this tension – how to be a climate activist AND find time in our lives for other talents, passions, and interests that renew my body and soul to come back to the work. 

At the same time, sometimes the work itself can be rejuvenating. And Glasgow has that heartbeat of rejuvenation. The thrum of humanity, the passion, the energy is so palpable here, it’s overwhelming. People, thousands of people, from all parts of the world, of all ages and backgrounds, speaking more languages than I can even recognize, all here to hold our leaders to account. To push, to pressure, and to demand that we seize this moment and not leave Glasgow empty handed. 

We can do this. We can. We must.

Reb Anderson

Rebecca Anderson

Head of Education and Storytelling

Rebecca is ACE’s Director of Education. She came to ACE in its inception in 2008. Rebecca develops ACE's science content, manages ACE’s online climate education resource, Our Climate Our Future, and ACE's teacher network and works with schools in the Reno-Tahoe area. Prior to ACE, she did paleoclimate research in the Arctic and Antarctica.

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