Whenever spring is a little early or late, or the autumn leaves are a little less than brilliant, or when it snows too much or too little, I join you in worrying. Is it the normal variation, or is it the beginning of the end of our seasons as we know them? I do not doubt the scientific consensus: We are in for big changes if we do not quickly change our planet's ways.
We really don't have to think of it as saving the planet, for the planet will do fine without us. A few million years warmer or colder is no news to this old rock, beauty-spot as it is in the Solar System. It will survive us, one way or another. Our concern is not really for the planet, but instead for our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. If the food-growing regions of the world become deserts and if the lowlands are flooded with each new storm and then permanently submerged by rising seas, how will our families suffer? Can freedom and democracy survive in such a world, or will constant warfare and autocratic rule be the result? We have only the present moment to help decide things for them.
My late husband was an executive for New Hampshire's electric utility. He was proud of the grand network of little dams and generators that turned our streams into electricity. We had more power than we needed back then, and Jim actually invented the idea of trading electrical capacity with other states.
The only reason those little streams and generators are insufficient today is that we use so much electricity. In doing so, we have adopted a lifestyle that is irresponsible to our future families. Most of us understand that fact.
Moving into new ways of living usually requires creative cultural and political leadership. Finding such leaders ought to be quite a priority for us today.
Some of us in New Hampshire and elsewhere have worked hard to cut the strings between politicians and the special interests that might get in the way of that creative leadership. New Hampshire recently joined with several other states in moving toward a system of publicly-funded election campaigns. If you don't have to go to the fat cats to fund your campaign, then you don't have to kow-tow to them when important legislation is on the table - it's that simple. We are not fundamentally a corrupt people, but we are fundamentally a courteous people, we Americans, and we hate to disappoint our big donors.
If New Hampshire's state leaders follow-through with the election reform now in the pipeline - and you should encourage them to do so - you then must run for office yourself, or identify the people in your community who might help us find ways forward that do not threaten the futures of our children.
The way is clear for leadership. We are ready for them to help us find new ways to live. We are like a grand audience, waiting.
Maybe we are waiting for you? Then what on earth is keeping you? Do what you were born to do and be amazed at how the doors open. Heaven itself loves heroes and will part any rising seas you need parted. NH
Doris Haddock walked the U.S. for campaign finance reform and was a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate against Judd Gregg. A seven-person commission established by Gov. Lynch to study the campaign finance bill (HB794) will give its report on Dec. 1, 2008.
This article appears in the June 2008 issue of New Hampshire Magazine