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Stand By Me: The heart of my community involvement with 350 Madison.

There's a song that captures my feelings of involvment in the Madison 350 community more than any other, and that is Stand By Me by Ben E King. If you're up for it, give the song a listen while you read.

When people ask why I'm involved with 350 and the UW Fossil Free Student Coaltion, I'm always a little hesitant to answer because I do not know how to articulate it. I can articulate the rational part of my involvement: the want, and need to actively do something to attempt to ensure the future of the planet. There's another part though, infinitely more powerful, that is too difficult to put into a rational string of words. And that is what this song conveys.

For those who are forced to study it and see it everyday, there is no denying the gravity of our future. It is a burden we all live with everyday. I am being completely real when I say there's a good chance I may see this world turn apocolyptic before I leave it. I do not mean this as a flamboyant attempt to get readers to believe in climate change, I say this from the depths of my own fears and insecurities. It is from this acknowledgement, of the uncertainty of my future, that my community involvement stems from.

I would be lying if I said my community involvement significantly changed my outlook of the future. I still see the storm coming, and if the mounting data on climate science are correct, we cannot move foward in time without bearing witness to the storm climate change will bring. Instead, in this scared, vulnerable, and insecure state, I see the storm and reach my childlike hand out in the dark for a hand to grab me back.  Together we hold each other up. And with hands held tight, we are able to count to 3 and look at the storm together, analyze it more closely, understand its nuances so that when it comes, we can understand how to dodge the biggest bolts of rolling thunder.

I have more hope than I used to after being involved in the 350 Madison community, but it is not in the typical sense of the word. I still see the storm. I am still scared. But as the storm of climate change drudges upon us, our hands will be locked tight, our hearts strong. And even though we do not, and cannot know, what our future holds, we know damn well what we are holding in this moment.

That is what gives me hope.


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