We asked members of our community about the multitude of ways that climate change has impacted their lives for a series of features we’re creating called #myclimateplan. The stories they have shared reveal the ways in which they have had to adapt, the unexpected challenges they’ve faced, and the hope and meaning they’ve found in taking action together as part of a collective. In this section, we are going to share some of those stories – beginning with our co-founder Adam Lynes-Ford.
This month I’m thinking a lot about the 2018 Camp Fire. The fire, one of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in California’s history, ripped through several communities including the small canyon town of Paradise, where four generations of my family have lived.
We were deeply fortunate that we didn’t lose any family members. At least 85 people died and over 10,000 homes burnt to the ground, among them the home of my great grandparents, grandma and auntie.
A year after the fire I went with my family to visit the site of our grandma’s former home. I braced myself for a painful journey. And it was. The town was unrecognizable.
We pulled over on my grandma’s lane and walked through the blackened shrubs. The stub of our grandma’s chimney stood in the middle of a crater of ash where her house had been.
I thought about what was lost – the photographs, the bright room with the long table where we’d eaten my Grandma’s cornbread, played endless card games, heard family stories from our aunts and uncles.
But what I hadn’t anticipated was that among the ash, life was returning. Glossy green grass and sky lupins shouldered out of the scorched forest floor under our feet.
Hawks swung in lazy circles above the Feather River in the canyon below. The towering oaks we’d climbed as kids stood like charred wicks, ringed at their bases with lush green growth from their still-living roots.
The land is a good teacher about passing through deep loss to burgeoning life on the other side.
I think about those oak shoots and hawks as people impacted by the Camp Fire battle insurance companies to fulfill their responsibilities, rebuild their homes in the thousands, and work to remake their communities to be more resilient to fire and drought.
May we draw strength from the land and her lessons as we imagine -and shape- the decades ahead of us together.
At My Climate Plan we’re exploring the desire to confront the reality of what our lives will be like as climate impacts worsen, and to prepare ourselves to be part of collective communities that rise to that challenge and build a better world.
If Adam’s story resonated with you, we invite you to join My Climate Plan as a founding member to take action towards a climate safe future.