What to say when it feels like there's nothing you can say
I spent some time with a group of friends the other day, and the conversation at the dinner table turned to the environment. One friend said that his daughter, who is the mother of young children, had called him the other day weeping in despair about the climate crisis and what it might mean for her small beings. He said, “I just told her to get to as many things as she could see before they were gone: the coral reefs, Venice….”
I had to walk away at that point—quietly, politely, I thought—for a quick lie-down on the sofa. There was something so unsettling to me about that advice that was given. I lay on a pillow listening to my friends talk and their voices were dear and familiar and melodious. I thought, Well, he’s right. It appears that things ARE disappearing. The wonders of the world—those near to us and those far away—that we took for granted for so long, we can no longer take for granted. To acknowledge that is the responsible thing to do. To acknowledge it also seems like a good way to give yourself heartache and a stomach ache and acute mental distress. But.
Is there an alternative to the kind of advice my friend offered his daughter?
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