A Balm for My Soul

Rock Creek Park

I often feel alone.  

So few people I know are grieving as I am, or are as angry or afraid as I am, for our planet.   In just about every group where I find myself, I sense that I am the only one feeling a desperate urgency about our climate, a deep grief for the many species who are disappearing every day and forever.  Most people do not know what I know, nor feel what I feel.

Part of my loneliness stems from keeping these heavy feelings inside so much of the time.  While I do speak up about the climate, I often hesitate, not knowing when to speak or how much to say.  After all, the truth is grim.  Many people don’t want to be brought down, and some believe it is socially inappropriate to speak of anything that is negative or unpleasant.

Often, I even feel alone among people who do know that global warming is real.  I don’t understand why, if they understand our predicament, they do not share my sense of urgency.   

Given that the climate crisis is an unrelenting weight on me, I am grateful for an experience I had last weekend, an experience that made my spirit buoyant and my heart light.  I participated in a board meeting of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN).  CCAN is an impressive climate action organization that works throughout Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC.  I feel honored to have recently been invited to join the board, and this was my second board meeting.

As we sat around a picnic table in dappled sunlight in Rock Creek Park that sunny Saturday morning,  I did not feel alone.  Just as I reliably find comfort among trees in a natural setting, so too did I find comfort among people who are no less worried about the fate of our planet than I am.  Doctors, lawyers, alternative energy experts, organizers, a minister–along with a remarkably hard-working, savvy, and energetic executive director–giving their all to solving the climate crisis.  Not a minute of  our four-hour meeting was boring.

As we each reported on our own climate-related activities, I could feel my energy surging.  Inspired by my fellow board members’  efforts, I experienced great happiness, gratitude for the opportunity to join forces with these good people in working for a livable future.  Among such committed souls, how could I possibly feel alone?  

When our meeting and lunch had ended, and we all went our separate ways, I felt a joy and a lightness that lasted for several days. Yes, global warming is the greatest challenge humanity has ever had to face.  And yes, if we fail to meet the challenge, it will be the greatest of all tragedies.  Yet despite these facts, the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with others buoys my spirits and makes me stronger.  I feel a clarity of spirit that comes from aligning myself with a group that is dedicated to what is truly most sacred–a healthy, livable planet.–April Moore



9 Responses to “A Balm for My Soul”

  1. Lise Van Susteren Says:

    Beautifully written — and as one of the participants in the meeting I am reliving the comfort of that moment reading these words. Many thanks to all and especially April for taking the time to share her thoughts so elegantly.

  2. Nancy Kelly Says:

    You’ll be an asset to CCAN’s board and it’s lovely to hear about your experience at the meeting. It also says a lot about CCAN that you felt empowered by the board meeting. Thank you, April, for what you do and how you communicate your thoughts and efforts.

  3. Felicia Colvin Says:

    April, thank you for putting my feelings into words. For so long I have understood the urgency for humans to change, felt anger, frustration and even shame towards the human species. Most adults I have spoken with don’t want to hear it, feel I am bringing them down and most importantly, they admit they don’t want to change their daily routines to cut back on their own carbon footprint. Everyday I observe my neighbors jump in their vehicles and rush off to somewhere, several times per day, never giving a thought to wasting fuel or combining trips into one. I started to feel an empty bitterness setting inside me towards humanity and a hopelessness at the prospect of humanity ever changing their hearts and minds to save mother earth and all her inhabitants. In order to preserve my own sanity I decided to cling to the Buddha’s words “No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may.” I changed my focus to what “I” am doing to reduce my own carbon footprint. My husband and I were already going shopping only once every 2 weeks to reduce gas use and pollution, now we grow our own organic vegetables, strawberries and berries. We walk our dogs for exercise and gardening keeps us too busy to ever think about needing to drive somewhere to be entertained. We even stretched our shopping trips to every 3 weeks! We live a simple but satisfying life that brings us closer to the rhythms of nature. For my own preservation, I have released the feelings of desperation, anger and even the shame towards my fellow species. I focus on my own actions and I celebrate your actions and those others of like mind. I too feel lonely, but we are not alone. Keep up your good works. Those of us who are Awake appreciate your contribution. Sleepwalking humans may be the end of us all, but we can say we attempted to be the light to show the way.

  4. Priscilla Says:

    A nice, affirming reflection. Thank you, April, for all you do!!!

  5. Ted Rouse Says:


    It was a pleasure getting to know you better at the CCAN board meeting. I thought Mike’s response to the question of how does one have hope in the face of our daunting challenge was inspiring. We really have no choice but to fight for our planet’s future and our children’s children . And knowing people like you who give your heart and soul to the struggle is our reward. Thank you for expressing appreciation for that dappled sunlight day by the river in the heart of DC !

  6. Charlie Garlow Says:

    I know that some don’t want to hear about it, bad news. So, I try to focus on the good news. I felt surrounded by good folks who want to learn more about solar and energy efficiency on this last weekend’s Tour of Solar Homes. I also get lots of looks and friendly inquiries from people that I meet on my electric bicycle. This morning, commuting to work on my bright yellow electric bike, I saw Muriel Bowser and her campaigners waving signs at cars and others at an intersection. I said hello. She said, “Wow, that’s an electric bike.” I replied that it is and that it helps cut down on pollution, and that we need more good policies to encourage biking. If she is elected Mayor of DC, I suspect that we will have a Mayor who is open to hearing about good solutions, not one who doesn’t want to hear about it. On the other hand, I vote in MD, where we also have great elected officials, who are open to hearing about it.
    So, solarize your home and invite neighbors over. Ride your bike, or your electric bike, and talk it up at farmers’ markets or other friendly gatherings. You would be surprised how many people are willing to talk about it. And DO something about it.

  7. Ira Shorr Says:

    Nice piece April–it is a difficult time to feel optimistic about the future. Glad you’ve found a way to action that elevates your spirits.

  8. sandra rose Says:

    April, I can hardly even write about the subject because my feelings about “the end” are so dark. Melancholia is a movie that bombed, I believe,because it suggested the truth about how we are living and how we will end metaphorically.

    Thanks to you and all our comrades for “being here”. Misery not only loves company, it needs company.

    Sandi Rose

  9. Joni Grady Says:

    Thank you April. I’ve posted it on CAAV’s fb page and my own. I’d have been weeping so hard while I wrote it that my keyboard would have shorted out. We are so grateful to be connected to CCAN and all the other great groups that give us all the courage to carry on. We just got back from a short vacation to Louisiana and came back shell-shocked from being in the middle of an oil/gas state that’s rapidly disappearing before their averted eyes. The people that care are silenced, threatened, or lose their jobs, and the destruction continues unabated.

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