Hold Onto Wonder

With so much disappointment in the air, wonder reminds me of how much we have yet to experience.

Hold Onto Wonder
Photograph by Jonas Frei / Instagram

LISTENING: "I know that the sun will swallow the only Earth we will ever have"
FEELING: committed
SEEING: the minutes on my watch run out

wonder (noun)
won·​der /ˈwəndər/
(1) a cause of astonishment or admiration
(2) rapt attention or astonishment at something awesomely mysterious or new to one's experience

How often do we stop to think about the meaning behind the words we say? How often do you find yourself in wonder? How much of life have we closed ourselves off to? How much admiration or astonishment do we hold back?

I'm thinking of this today because the world is soaking in disappointment. At COP28, the world's premier climate conference, President Joe Biden didn't even make an appearance. Instead, he's pushing his peers in Congress to pass another $10 billion in military aid to Israel. Back at COP, governments are disagreeing over a few words related to the future of fossil fuels: phase out or phase down? Meanwhile, a new analysis by my homies at Drilled shows just how much money the fossil fuel sector is forking over to respected media institutions.

So, yeah, I've been feeling disillusioned by, well, everyone.

In an effort to rewire my own brain, I wanted to remind you all of how important it is we hold onto wonder—that euphoric feeling when we see a blue jay on our balcony or a singer put our emotions into rhythm.

How wonderful would it be to experience something new? For a new politician or political process that could amaze us? Not because of some awful thing they did—but because of something good?

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I hope you hold onto your own wonder.

I'll be in Seattle this week for an event with Patagonia called "Not Mars: Tools To Save Our Home Planet." I'll be hosting the event where activists will speak about the work they're doing to protect Earth. And, man, I'm always in awe of organizers and movement leaders—the folks who work day and night to find solutions and strive for change.

They don't waste time pouting over the disappointments. They use that as fuel for their next action. I find much of my wonder not in nature but in my interviews and reporting. How wonderful would it be to reimagine the COP process? How wonderful would it be if wealthy nations actually paid reparations to the countries now suffering from climate impacts?

The people with these ideas are full of wonder—they have to be to do their work. Imagination and mystery and possibility sit at the heart of wonder.

Where do you find your wonder? Don't lose it. It's different than hope, which ebbs and flows throughout periods of our life. Wonder, though? Once you let go of the marvel of the world, I worry you'll miss it forever. Indeed, too many people have. 🌀

Rest in Power

While we can't say for certain that climate change led to these specific weather events (we need attribution studies for that), we do know that the Earth's rising temperatures are already creating more disasters like these.

At least two people are dead in the Pacific Northwest state after severe rains Wednesday caused rivers and creeks to overflow.

On Tuesday, Cyclone Michaung landed in India, ending the lives of at least 17 people.

Flooding triggered by terrible rains over the weekend in the eastern Africa region has killed some 63 people in Tanzania.

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