by Emily Johnston. Cross-posted from the Climate Defense Project. The Climate Defense Project is part of the legal team providing support to Emily and the other valve turners.
A certain kind of anxious question comes almost every time we give a talk as “the Valve Turners”: Why would you take such a risk? What brought you to this? One interviewer was sure that I was leaving something out in my answers; he thought for sure some moment in my childhood had primed me for this.
I could tell it that way, if you wanted. It’s true that when I was twelve or thirteen, my brother told me about global warming. We lived on a low-lying island each summer, a place where the manmade causeway would sometimes be dramatically reclaimed by the sea in a big storm: swallowed by waves, just like that. The island was the place I loved most in all the world, and it disturbed me deeply to suddenly imagine it under the rising seas—my father’s vegetable garden, my mother’s flowers, the trees and their dappled light. It gave me an uncomfortable awareness of impermanence.
But the truth is that my love for the natural world often gave me that feeling of vulnerability: extinctions, factory farming, the clubbing of baby seals—all of these were wounds to my sense of connection and continuity. It’s a susceptibility I shared with a lot of sensitive kids. Which is to say, with a lot of kids—not to mention adults. Continue reading