Trees and A Park: What Does One Do with Wealth and Privilege?
April 11, 2021
I’m sitting this morning in a hotel room in the middle of the desert. For various reasons, I’m sitting living my life as a wife – as Mrs. Mr. Plastic Picker. I am appreciating the depths of a particular childhood friendship that started in New Jersey during the angst of adolescence and has endured. It’s a comfortable coming together of two couples who have known each other over decades.
But as four outwardly uber-successful adults having dinner and catching up on years of family and children and professional news, I am reminded that each of us needs to decide what we do with the outward trappings of wealth and power and privilege. How will we decide to leave our impact on the world? How does one find meaning in life? Even with close friends with similar political leanings, we each have a great ability to enact change. And unfortunately with positions and influence, we have more ability than others.
I’m always tempted with the siren call of FIRE, Financial Independence Retire Early. We could FIRE now. But retire into what? Into a world slowly descending into climatic catastrophy? This is why I talk about FISE, Financial Independence Save the Earth. We have made strides toward #fightfor1point5 for sure, but we have at least another decade of action to catch up. Time is of the essence. So with that, I am also reminded to those that much is given, much is expected.
So I will continue on my path, and enjoy our friends at the same time. It is not mutually exclusive. And I am reminded that the sense of connection and community, is one of the most important ways to fight for climate action. When you feel connected to a communtiy and to the earth and to the literal trees you sit beneath, than you will fight to protect them. The picture is a tree that sits at a park across from the house that I grew up. And it is a beautiful tree and a beautiful moment when the light was filtering through the leaves. I noticed it because I love this park, and I had just finished picking up a bag of trash.