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Voices / Letters from readers

A sorrowful gasp: the sound of deep caring

On Jan. 15, I attended Bill McKibben’s talk at the Centre Congregational Church hosted by 350Brattleboro, of which I am a member. I have heard Bill speak many times, and am grateful he is willing to work so hard as a spokesperson against climate change.

The hall was filled. Some were there, I am sure, to learn about climate change itself, but also for fortification, for inspiration, for direction. It can feel so disorienting to know how dire climate change is even now (floods, fires, sea rise and acidification, drought, and also government destabilization, crop failure, and refugee migration), and seeing elected officials and billionaires literally adding fuel to the fires through fracking, through coal, through oil extraction.

Bill described 350.org’s successful fossil fuel divestment campaign and encouraged us to start focusing on the banks that are lending money to the fossil-fuel industry (Chase Bank, the bank that has given the most money to the industry, has loaned out $195 billion since the Paris Climate Accord in 2015.)

There is a moment that really sticks with me from the evening. Bill was talking about the gripping tragedy of the bushfires in Australia and said that people could hear wildlife screaming as they died in the fires.

There was a sound from the audience that I can only describe as a sorrowful gasp. It was the sound of shared emotions. It was powerful. And it makes me think we can succeed, because it is through that deep caring that we can come together.

Please join us in the fight. There are many groups working hard to fight climate change. You can find out what is happening locally by visiting 350Brattleboro (local), 350Vermont (statewide), and Extinction Rebellion.

Rebecca Jones, M.D.
Brattleboro

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Originally published in The Commons issue #545 (Wednesday, January 22, 2020). This story appeared on page C1.

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