I made a decision back in 2008, 12 years ago. Well, actually I made a number of decisions. The first decision I made with my husband and family was to move into Prairie Sky Cohousing Cooperative. Hannah was eight and Ben was ten and we decided to move from our suburban culdisac into Prairie Sky. Now there were a number of things influencing that decision.
In my role as pastor of Barnabas Christian Fellowship, I had the opportunity to work with Bill Phipps, former moderator of the United Church of Canada and Faith and the Common Good. In the context of that work and that relationship, I began to get a deeper appreciation of environmental issues and the need for all of us to change our lifestyles.
We were also feeling a loss of community when Barnabas ended and we didn’t find another “community home”. There rose for my husband and I the question of how we modelled for / and with our children an alternate way of life to our consumer culture. At Prairie Sky we found a smaller ecological foot print and much larger community footprint.
The trees were tiny when we first arrived and now our second floor balcony feels like a tree house. We spent two weeks this summer watching closely through the geraniums and nasturtiums as three baby robins were launched; including observing one take its first hop from the nest to a nearby branch and then sit there for a bit before it figured out what to do next. (I digress or maybe I don’t? The focus I experienced over the last 12 years has had something to do with stage of life: lovely open beaks and speckled breasts! ) And it has been home for the last 12 years.
So that was the first decision. The second decision I think, I made, was to put a kind of firm boundary between myself and environmental concerns.
I am not sure if everyone uses the language of triage to speak about being a parent and an adult during middle life; but there is something about trying to make a living, stay married, be a somewhat adequate parent most of the time, look after aging parents and not drop all your friends which involves ruthless choices consciously or unconsciously. At least it did for me.
Shifting our lives to Prairie Sky, in all it’s goodness, had also incurred some serious losses. I kind of felt that I had done my thing for the planet. It would have to survive without me! (Ah the internal dialogue we have with ourselves and the universe is pretty wild!!)
All this to say, when I started to feel attentive, engaged and concerned by news of our climate crisis I was surprised. It wasn’t in any 5 year plan I knew about !
And exactly where this attention and engagement will takes me continues to be surprising, such as writing these 34 blogs!