Every June, the most fragrant flower in the garden blooms for just a few precious days.
The deep pink double-petaled roses are a bit unruly, growing from long, arching stems that resist all efforts to make a tidy, well-shaped bush.
But no matter.
The scent of the old roses is pungent, sweet and spicy. The fragrance always reminds me of Grandma C.
The flowers, alas, are fleeting.
A day or two after they bloom, the roses fade and the petals begin to drop. Too soon, the roses are done for the season.
The little rose bush is special to me, because it grew from a shoot of the rose bush that Pop’s mom grew in her garden. The rose is hardy, and Grandma C.’s original plant produced offspring rose bushes that now bloom in my parents’ garden, my sister’s and mine.
The simple home where the rose flourished and my Pop grew up along with six sisters was in the Black Forest near Colorado Springs, where a wildfire has killed two people, burned 24 square miles and destroyed 483 homes since it started last Tuesday. The Black Forest fire is the most destructive fire in Colorado’s history.
Each week seems to bring new stories of catastrophic weather disasters from around the world. It feels like the earth is crying out for us to unite and put the brakes on the cycle of endless consumption and careless pollution. If these disasters don’t get our collective attention, what will it take?
I was thinking about this as we drove through Wyoming last week and passed several enormous coal strip mines.
As we made our way home, we crossed paths with several freight trains winding through the plains, their cars loaded with coal. And so it goes: more coal for more energy, more consumption, more pollution, more mercury in our food, more disasters, more fires—and of course, coal-fired energy is just one small piece of the environmental puzzle.
With hours to think as I drove, I wondered: what will it take to change course and save our planet? I don’t know if we can count on our politicians to truly implement meaningful change, so I feel a constant urging to take personal action.
One thing I know for sure is that well-placed money helps. Money helps finance campaigns to raise awareness. Money can enable communication and help spread information. Let’s face it; money can help make things happen. If we really want to see change in our lifetimes, perhaps we need to choose strong, well-managed organizations that are aligned with our values, and support them with our dollars.
One such organization I support is the Moms Clean Air Force, which I learned about when I heard co-founder and senior director Dominique Browning talk in Denver. (She’s one of my favorite writers and I love her book, Slow Love and blog, Slow Love Life. But I digress.)
Moms Clean Air Force is a grassroots, non-partisan (hurray!) organization of more than 138,000 moms committed to protecting our right to clean air and educating people about what’s at stake if we don’t. You might enjoy food writer Mark Bittman’s recent editorial in the New York Times supporting the organization, and his findings about the connection between coal-burning pollution and mercury in foods.
When money is tight, I especially appreciate the group’s “Take Action” page, which has several simple efforts we can make to fight for change that don’t cost a dime.
What are your thoughts? Are you involved with groups or organizations that are taking real action to save our Earth? I’d love to hear your comments and ideas about how we as people can unite around this crucial, most-important issue.
Our children, grandchildren and future generations are depending on us to do something while we still can.