The Year of “Wait, What?”

Well, folks, this is it. 2015 is coming to a close, and it’s been one interesting year.

In early 2015, everyone was pushing YearofWaitWhatElizabeth Warren to run for President. We were still waiting for Hillary to finalize what basically everyone knew was coming. Jon Stewart was still hosting The Daily Show. “Presidential Candidate Donald Trump” was an oxymoron. Keystone XL was still on the table. The U.S. and China had only just agreed to a climate deal. Arctic drilling was moving forward. I had just finished my first term of grad school.

Oh, how things change.

I’m excited that Hillary is running for president, and Bernie Sanders is doing his part for a saner campaign, although I am only growing more certain that he would make a terrible president. With the Clean Power Plan, rejection of Keystone XL, Shell’s abandonment of Arctic drilling, and the Paris Climate Accord, we have made huge strides regarding climate issues. Don’t get me wrong – we still have a lot to do to prevent catastrophic climate change – but we have a solid place to start.

On the other hand, Jon Stewart has left television. There is more hate and fear than I can recall seeing in the news in years past. Community seems to be a thing of the past. Donald Trump is not just running for president, but he’s the front-runner for the GOP nomination. I really wish that last sentence was a joke.

Personally, things are going quite well for me. My age has become less important than my abilities. I have friends that I hang out with. An internship opportunity has arisen with the League of Women Voters, lobbying at the state capitol on environmental issues. My parents – that is, my mom and my step-dad, or “dad” – got married this summer, making us an official, legal family. I got a queen-size bed, so there’s finally room for me and my cats! After years of struggling with depression, anxiety, and PTSD, I am happy, content, and optimistic. As long as I don’t read the news, anyway.

Checking Facebook has become scary for me. At least once a day, there is a headline that makes me stop and go, “Wait, what?” Sometimes in a good way – “Wait, what? Really? There’s a deal in Paris?!” – but not usually. Often there are stories of sexism, racism, violence, foreign terrorism, domestic terrorism, homophobia, Islamophobia, and general social and economic injustices.

2015 was the year of “Wait, what?” It was the year of stupidity, fear, self-righteousness, ignorance, hatred, prejudice, defensiveness, and opposition. It was the year when respect, courtesy, and kindness became signs of weakness. I am afraid it was the year that foretold the years to follow.

We can keep that from being the case. Let us make 2016 a year of hope. A year of love, respect, understanding, compassion, justice, fairness, equality, and kindness. It can be a year of opportunity to make the world a better place, by working with, not against, one another. Every one of us is a Homo sapiens, a human deserving of better than was offered to us this past year. Let’s come together as a family.

As we ring in the new year, fill your heart with love. So long as there is life, there is hope.

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About ecosciencegirl

Professionally, I am a graduate student at The Evergreen State College in their Master's of Environmental Studies program, with a Bachelor's of Science from Southern Oregon University in Environmental Studies and Biology. I am a science instructor for GHF Online (Gifted Homeschoolers Forum) and I volunteer at the WET Center, a science museum in Olympia, WA. Personally, I am a young adult who is fascinated with the environment, loves to read and write, and adores all animals (especially cats). In general, I do a lot of climate change activism, and I'm passionate about social and environmental justice. Someday I would like to be a teacher, field researcher, and/or policy maker. If possible, I would also like to save the world from humanity.
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