The environment has always been my first love.
I credit (or blame) my name. Tenaya was the last chief of the Yosemite Valley tribe of native americans so I had no choice but to care. When you have the same name as a crystal clear glacier-fed lake in one of the most beautiful places on the planet, you feel crazy connected to the earth.
I chose my college based on their environmental studies program (and of course New Orleans). I organized for Environment California and passionately managed a hemp and organic cotton clothing store. I focused on sustainable development during my masters in public policy program then moved to Sacramento determined to make laws supporting sustainability. I had a deep drive to save the earth. It was the thing I cared about most.
Then I sort of...gave up.
I got overwhelmed by the negativity of the movement. I started to think all was lost. Every message told people that we were fu*&ed. That no one was ever doing enough. That polluting corporations were evil, and powerful. That we needed radical and complete transformation of our society and economy for the survival of our species, and that looked impossible.
I moved on to organ donation, which deals with death and yet was eternally more hopeful about the possibility of humanity to do good. Being a part of the Donate Life community made me believe this: if the environmental movement abandoned messages of doom and replaced them with stories of progress, change, transformation and sustainability in action then people would rise to a new way of being.
Here is a possibility for our future: we all have clean air and water and food, the earth's habitats are healthy and we all have enough. I know we are capable of creating that future. I know that humans have the ingenuity and compassion and capacity. I know that if we clearly say what we WANT, rather than yelling fears of climate change, then we will transform.
But we must do it by communicating hope. We must clearly craft the future we want to live into and we must believe, with every fiber of our being, that our beautiful creation is possible. We can have a healthy earth with healthy humans.
So if you are going to celebrate Earth Day in a very small way, I ask that you say a prayer of hope for humanity. Take a moment to feel the sun and wind on your face, to listen to the birds, to admire the trees, to feel in awe of the incredible biodiversity and majesty of this blue marble we have the opportunity to experience. Breathe in the oxygen that gives us life and believe from your head to your toes to your very soul that we CAN. It's all possible. It's all happening. Every day is Earth Day.
A Bit About Me
I am Tenaya, a communications strategist and public speaker telling stories that connect, inspire...and laugh.