I’m Walking for Our Grandchildren
Editor in Chief
It all started when I learned to read. The truth is, I’m a bookworm; I’m not the outdoorsy type at all. I’ve never been a hiker or a biker or a camper or even an environmentalist. When I look back over my life I’m surprised I’ve managed to raise a family and hold jobs and keep a marriage and a few good friendships healthy, when all I ever really wanted is for everybody to go away and let me read.
Trouble is, when you read you get ideas. Very early on, I got the idea that a lot goes on in this good green world that hurts people and other creatures and doesn’t make a lick of sense. The biggest and dumbest of all those things, from where I sit to read, is war. So I became an antiwar activist. I carried my firstborn son to demonstrations against the Vietnam War in a backpack with a sticker that said Question Authority. (Served me right, then, when he dropped out of college to follow the Grateful Dead―but that’s another story.)
There’s still more than enough to oppose, and I do show up at my share of rallies, but as I age I’m shifting my focus from anti to pro, from what I’m against to what I’m for. I’m passionately pro-peace, and that includes peace with the earth. I’m a passionate feminist, working for an organization (Peace X Peace) that lifts the voices of magnificent women who work for peace and human dignity around the world. As a matter of fact I’m a pro-life feminist, but that’s also another story. And I’m a Secular Franciscan. I’m a follower of the saint who followed Christ in taking to the road to tell us the kingdom of God is within us and all around us, if we’ll only open our eyes.
I’ve seen tremendous progress in my 68 years, as peace and feminism and eco-spirituality have all advanced from the fringes into the mainstream. Yet we still live on a hungry planet where war eats first. People in authority still treat the earth like a woman, and treat women like dirt. We torture political prisoners and we torture Mother Earth to squeeze out her last reserves of fossil fuel instead of changing our extravagant lifestyles.
I’m seeing more and more clearly, as I approach my three score and ten, how all these issues tie together at the root. Our persistent bad habit of choosing up sides leads too many to see prisons and pesticides and permanent war as the only way to protect the “good guys” from the “bad guys,” while the short-term thinking that our political cycles reward lets greed run riot and makes proven, enlightened alternatives all but impossible to scale up.
Yet I still believe that in a democracy, if the people lead, the leaders will follow. It’s just a matter of getting to the tipping point: getting enough of us to believe something has to give that we all push together in the same direction and it does.
So next Sunday, I’m taking to the road―the C & O Canal Towpath, to be exact; putting my whole self in with the Walk for Our Grandchildren. I’m walking a little farther each day to get in shape. I don’t expect anything to change immediately as a result of my efforts, but I want history and the rest of the world to know some of us can’t sit still with the status quo. I want my grandchildren to know it too. I have five now, ranging from a college graduate to one who hasn’t quite learned to walk. Liz, Talia, Noe, Didi, and Jake, I’m walking for you, for grandchildren still to come, and for your grandchildren. I want you all to live on a beautiful, sustainable, peaceful, and just planet earth, and to love it as much as I love you.