As long as the future is in the hands of young people with respect for the planet, love of animals and sincerity of heart, there’s hope
As a lifelong creative who answered reality’s knock on the door and figured out how to turn my quixotic artistic fantasies into a family-sustaining business, my ability to dream and communicate that dream has always been one of the most crucial tools in my medicine belt.
Convincing a musician to hire me over ten billion competitors to put my touch and production on your music, to improve the music and where it goes? I’m the one to do it.
Build a recklessly grand recording studio in a hyper competitive market to serve the needs of a sprawling collective of Brooklyn music eccentrics? Barely a sweat.
Rip up that whole scene at its heaving apex and rebuild it from scratch on a rescue animal farm in the New York countryside…to escape the poison of the city and tap into a more pastoral vein, in the blind hope that our collaborators would follow? Easy to make that leap of faith, lived as a fantastical dream through my six-year-old daughter’s eyes.
For a long time, I felt that the unstable combination of blind faith and unceasing determination that won us success was due to some kind of magic. But once I’d lived past the illusion of invincibility that we carry through our youth, I realized that all the flowing power and inspiration had bubbled not from me, but from one source: Mother Nature. It all came from the blessings and beauty provided in a natural world, a resource at once all-encompassing and so delicately finite.
If I could look upon a beautiful vista with rushing water and feel the sun warm my bald head and let the wind blow me further from my troubles, I could experience myself as infinite.
If I could process tragedy, grief, and simple bad luck through the lens of nature’s constant ebbs and flows, could I gain enough perspective to approach my little daughter with something in my hands when she quizzes me over life’s more troubling mysteries?
The question of divinity – is there a God? – is totally dwarfed by the awesome power of the natural world. Whatever you want to call it, it is! It’s there, it’s surging with a force we can only dream of achieving, perhaps it could even be utilized. As fuel for industry and human development, sure. In increasingly sustainable ways, sure. But also as fuel for dreams. That is the power of nature: a crucial intake transmuted into the same building blocks of human imagination that have guided us around every corner of this vast and incomprehensible drama.
As a child, my well-intentioned and liberal journalist parents assured me that, while the climate crisis was real, its urgency was overstated by alarmists and cranks – in other words, business as usual for the apocalypse industry.
Now I’m thirty. More and more of us are waking up bitterly aware that not only is the urgency more real than a crank’s worst fears, but that we’ve wasted whole decades frittering away what remaining chance we have to protect our ever-fragile relationship and place within Mother Nature’s awesome power and unmatched aesthetic beauty. It’s a beauty steadily destroyed by generations of shortsighted grave robbers. It’s been tough medicine for us to swallow and has resulted in just as much nihilism, despair, and factional in-fighting within the climate movement as in real organization toward progress.
In our house, we don’t believe in shielding our daughter from the knowledge of world realities that we cannot protect her from. And that’s a decision made with no lack of consideration. As a result, we’ve had to answer heartbreaking questions like, “Will I get to be a grown-up?”
All I can do in reply is to dream a dream for both of us. I tell her that it’s up to young people like her, like me (only 24 years separate us) –all of us to make the decisions that are going to write our futures. I tell her that as long as the future is in the hands of young people with respect for the planet, love of animals, and sincerity of heart, there’s hope. And then I take her to hold hands and watch the sunset over the Hudson River, as birds cry overhead.