I’ll be speaking this Saturday at a gathering on Climate, Race, and Justice. I find that talk has been rewriting itself over and over in my mind, even though I was supposed to be working on something else today, an article to accompany my book publication in less than two weeks. The intersection between Climate, Race, and Justice is something I’ve been interested in for a while. It’s part of what brought me to this work, and I have felt that learning to talk about the intersections is part of what I’m called to do. But this is the first time I’ve been challenged to make a public statement about it–preferably in less than 30 minutes. It’s hard. I believe that people learn best through stories, but I also think we need clear ideas and theories of change. I suspect some people in the room will know a lot, others not so much. I keep wondering what I can take for granted and what I need to spell out.
I don’t want to go into the content of the talk here, except for this one piece: the subtitle of the conference, which has been niggling at me. “We’re all in this together” feels like an important truth about climate change, but only a partial truth. The analogy that comes to mind is the Titanic. All the passengers and crew were in the boat together, but only some of them had access to lifeboats. I think one of the challenges of this moment in history is the imperative to name and claim our fundamental connectedness while not sugar coating the real differences between the ways we experience the world. So that’s part of what I’ll be talking about, at least as of today.