It was May. Stepping out of the RV after a long, North American road trip, my family took a look around, breathing in the fresh ocean air and looking around at the jaw-dropping beauty that is Vancouver Island. Grateful to be able to here, it was hard to keep our excitement down for this new chapter of our lives. As someone who is happiest out in nature, I couldn't wait to start hitting the trails! I won't exactly say that came was next was horrible disillusionment, but I will say, that I am glad that I began to try to learn about the issues facing this beautiful island and amazing people. It started with a local Facebook group talking about the ongoings within the municipality. Learning about the tearing down of so many trees and the influx of people moving to the island (which I felt horrible because my family was clearly a part of it) and how the infrastructure isn't here to support it. I learned about green house gas (GHG's) goals and how we just aren't cutting it to achieve them. I started to dig a little more deeply, wondering what I could do to help be a part of the solution and not just part of the problem. As an educator, I felt what better way could there be then to first educate myself.
That's when I found out about the Climate Reality Project. I went through their online training program for Climate Reality Leaders. It was a really life-altering experience for me in all of the right ways. It was certainly emotionally draining learning and thinking about all of the devastating impacts we are having on our planet and ourselves, but at the same time, it gave me a sense of hope knowing that there are so many people world-wide who aren't giving up. It's hard to go up against ignorance and apathy. It's almost impossible to force some people to care. However, I truly believe that through connecting with others and forming a true sense of community, we can make a difference. If you haven't been through it yourself, I highly recommend it!
I am still learning and will hopefully always continue to learn more. I feel as though it would have been "easy" to sit back, to read social media posts, to get angry, and to feel overwhelmed. Instead, I am happy and proud to report that after being here for a year, it feels good to know I am not sitting back, that I am doing what I can to help. Today, I am working as a Regional Organizer for the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island Hubs of the Climate Reality Project. So far, this Victoria journey has been an incredible one filled with kind, caring people. Victoria certainly has its issues, but I am hopeful that I can pitch in and help, one piece at a time. I always tell the people we left behind in the US, it is like getting to live in a place where you always feel like you are on vacation. How cool is it to have the privilege of sighing with pleasure looking out at the views of the tree covered hills and natural beauty to be seen even from the freeway? Victoria is a pretty special place. Whether you are pretty new to the area like me, or have been on this island for years, I hope you consider joining us or using our resources to go on your journey of making a difference too!