I support Cutting Community Greenhouse Emissions in Half
But I am prejudiced beyond debate in favor of my right to choose which side shall feel the stubborn ounces of my weight. – Bonaro W. Overstreet
When Louise was 12, she moved to a village outside of Peterborough. The woods and wetlands were her backyard. One day on her explorations, she came across a drumlin – a hill filled with sand and gravel left by a receding glacier. Long and narrow, covered with spring green grass and crowned with young white birch trees, it had a magic ambiance that she never forgot. Louise later left the area for school, but didn’t forget that transformative spot in nature. Years later she returned, looking for her drumlin and sense of place. To her chagrin, she instead saw that it had been turned into a gravel pit, a dead dog lying there as a metaphor so blatant, you might edit it out if it was fiction. She has kept this image for decades however – a reminder of the need for advocates to stand up for wild spaces.
Louise has always been convinced that keeping and telling stories is what is going to move us forwards. It was as a children’s librarian that she first got to exercise that belief – “When you are telling a story, there is an immediate connection because there is nothing between you and the listener – if I describe something, you have to go through the practice of imagining it. Storytelling exercises the imagination” That type of imagining becomes a vital skill in a landscape where the role of activists and advocates is to imagine a future that is not yet written.
That future, however, is easier written in a group, which is why Louise seeks out volunteer opportunities with like-minded people. She cites the very first live meeting of the organization in Feb 2020, before the world shut down. “That first meeting of CNL was so hopeful – all those people gathered who heard the message and came together from all their different corners to say “What can I do?” Later, when canvassing for people to fill out CNL surveys at a Tree Giveaway event, the reception from people who were already doing something positive was another boost to her spirits as again and again they presented moments to discover a shared commitment to creating a sustainable future for our children and grandchildren – together.
The recognition that she is not alone is key for her keeping at the cause. “I can’t do everything, but I can do something. And if enough people do that, there is hope”