Snow on the Mountain
My son was still asleep when I awoke this morning, so I wandered into the living room of my modest apartment and pulled back the shades that cover the door to the balcony. After several days of rain, clouds, and fog, the glorious blue sky and clear air greeted me like an old friend.
Then I saw the snow.
We’ve seen snow before from LA. It trims the tops of the mountains, like a layer of whipped cream on a sundae, but only on those special days when the smog has cleared enough to allow us to see the mountains at all. Today, great fields of snow glistened against the perfect blue sky. While the view struck me as beautiful and filled me with joy, a voice inside my head reminded me that each year that snow is gradually disappearing, and that the day may come when those stony mountains remain bare forevermore.
I remember when I first learned about climate change — it was called the “greenhouse effect” back then. I was a curious and open-minded child when an article appeared in the Sunday newspaper, covering the front of some inside section and including a big diagram. It all made perfect sense to me: people burn fuel. We burn more fuel each year than the year before. In the history of Earth, this much has never burned. The exhaust is accumulating in the atmosphere. The changed atmosphere is like a huge global experiment — nobody knows for certain what will happen, but we can realistically expect it to be dramatic and unimaginably painful.
Since then, like so many others, I’ve let the climate change issue become more prominent in the media, and watched the debates rage around me, yet I’ve remained largely ignorant of the details, and only made the smallest and most casual of efforts to do anything about it. Global warming seemed too depressing, too scary, and too hopeless to address.
The last four years, as my intelligent, gorgeous, and wildly curious son has grown each day into more of a young man, I’ve had the divine blessing of caring for him with zeal and loving him with my full heart. I’ve attended church regularly, practiced meditation, and sought to incorporate ancient spiritual teachings into my worldview. Recently I started eating a purely raw vegan diet, leaving me with newfound clarity and energy. And I started asking myself deep questions about my role in the world, my most profound values, and God’s intentions for me, my family, and my generation. Yet my thoughts return again and again to my grandchildren.
I don’t have any grandchildren yet, and I might not. But if God sees fit to bless me with grandchildren, or great grandchildren, or great-great grandchildren who will carry on my name beyond my own time on this Earth, then I believe He intends for them to receive an abundance of His bountiful gifts. Those unborn children deserve to be able to look up from Los Angeles one day to see the glorious whiteness of snow. They deserve to breathe clean and pure outdoor air without the need for filters or masks. They deserve to enjoy the delightful taste of freshly picked fruit, free of toxins and all natural. They deserve to travel to the world’s beautiful islands, even those which are today just inches above the ocean. They deserve the pleasure of good health, avoiding massive epidemics of frightening and painful diseases. They deserve to stroll through quiet forests, marvel at enormous glaciers, and experience all the precious aspects of life on Earth that give it so much meaning. And besides my grandchildren, all future generations of humanity deserve God’s utmost blessings. And in order to make that happen, we need to stabilize the climate.