[Note: I took 2 days a week off during the first round of Climate Anxiety Counseling sessions, so this is an alternate history from a day I’ve already visited.]
I work a lot on climate change, and my anxiety is that more knowledge won’t help. I’m in the university, in a place of power, and in a position of power in the world, and so I get listened to, but I’m worried that people outside that won’t listen to me, and that the strategies I choose to focus on might not do anything positive.
What would be positive?
That’s the thing, I haven’t defined that for what I’m doing. We can say 2 degrees C, but we already know we’re gonna go past that, and that’s not what it’s about–it’s about how it affects people. … And like it or not, people are watching what’s happening on campuses. Now that they’re looking at us, what are we gonna say?
VV is a revelator. She travels where people request her, and they do request her. Where she visits, she helps residents find, name and strengthen every relationship, every habit, every cultural pattern and every social and physical structure they already have that will help them sustain each other and their nonhuman neighbors of all sizes. What she learns from them she can also offer to the people of the next town.
Some of the tools they use together are old: manipulating and enriching shorelines, like the first people of the coasts, to create clam beds. Some are new: the rows of tiny panels she calls “solar clotheslines”, hanging from and feeding into electrical wires, turning to catch the sun at every hour, in flat places where buildings are far apart. Some are perennial: loyalty, emulation, patience, pride. Calibrations of privacy. Remedies.
VV travels with R. R is an unraveler. Their job is to weaken the structures and practices that harm the people in a given place, that keep them only alive enough to work, that isolate them one from the other without their desire, that starve them, that shame them. As they get more of what they need from what VV reveals, they depend less and less on what R unravels.
All revelators and unravelers start in the places they’re most from. That’s how they know each other and learn to work together; they have at least one alley in common, one extreme weather event, one field, one bout of shameful history. Even there, of course, they ask a lot of questions.