Twenty-two years ago I took a course on climate science and I really started to worry. I was thinking maybe our climate would change enough someday that this could mess up food production and wreck our economy.

Now, our sons were small at the time, and you know how young parents are, always worrying about anything that could threaten their kids. So I had the bright idea that to make sure my kids and grandkids always had enough food, I should buy land on the outskirts of town and build an energy-efficient house and plant fruit trees and learn to garden.

And I did! I bought the land and halfway through designing the house, an engineer told me that if food ever got really scarce and thousands of people were looking for some way to feed their families, one of the first places they would look would be homes with gardens and solar panels on the roof. And I thought, “Dang it! There goes my survivalist fantasy!”

He was right. So I realized that the only way to save my family would be to help prevent climate from becoming too disrupted in the first place. It’s another take on the “It takes a village” idea. But in this case, I could see that we needed to save the whole country because if we didn’t stop the change in our weather, the northern, wet states like Maine could be flooded by American refugees from southern and central states that get too hot and too dry to support big populations. And from a spiritual perspective, I didn’t see that I had a choice. Life is sacred and we had to save everyone.

So I took up climate activism as a hobby and it has kept me busy ever since. It’s meaningful, but I could think of hobbies that are more fun! Now, food production is starting to be affected by changes in weather in much of our country. And recently I read that stopping climate change is not enough. We have to stop damaging the living systems of the Earth because they are what can help keep our weather manageable. For example, when rain falls in a forest, it seeps down into the earth, and trees release it back into the air, where it forms new rain clouds. But if you cut down the forest, the rain runs off the bare land, and you end up with a drier climate: desert, in many areas, that could have remained forest.

So, my new lesson is that we have to save not just the people, but the living systems of the Earth as well. And truth be told, I’ve always loved the beauty of nature and I do want to help protect nature in our local area. I think all life is sacred. I like to write and I’ve made good friends doing this. So I guess for hobbies, protecting the people and the Earth we love ain’t bad!

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