Can I Count on You?

We all need tools to save our planet. Storytelling is one of them.

Can I Count on You?
Me on stage during a Patagonia event last week. Photograph by Andrew Burton / Patagonia

LISTENING: to Monster Hunter music (my boyfriend is playing)
FEELING: tired after traveling
SEEING: my Instagram pop off ;)

Once upon a time, I lived in Seattle. I was a fresh college graduate. I had lived on the West Coast in short spurts, but this was the first time I was living somewhere with the intention of settling down. I only wound up living there a year as my career (and family obligations) pulled me back to New York, but those 12 months in Seattle were formative for me.

On those waters, I first learned to kayak. There, I awoke to a beach for the first time, camping on the coast. I have warm memories of catching little seals in the water below me as I rode the ferry to work every morning. I would spend my weekends zooming around on my bicycle, spending hours doodling or writing poetry in coffee shops after smoking a joint. I discovered a lot about myself in that year in Seattle. I began to understand what could be possible for us as a society if we could just slow down and marvel for a minute. I did a lot of marveling then.

Welcome to Possibilities, a creative climate newsletter on the possibilities that lie where crisis meets community. I’m Yessenia Funes, and I'm taking a trip down memory lane.

I was in Seattle again this week where I shared some of this before an audience. Patagonia invited me to host a night of storytelling: "Not Mars: Tools to Save Our Home Planet." Storytelling is a crucial tool we all need to wield if we're going to save anything. We should all spend more time thinking about our own stories. What moments brought us to where we are now? What event helped spark your potential? When were you most inspired or creative? What brought that out in you? How do we replicate that for others?

Seattle was a moment that changed me—in the best ways. Spending time in nature opened my eyes. So did interviewing Salish Sea Indigenous communities whose cultures I was witnessing for the first time. My co-workers at YES! Magazine (my first real job) inspired me with their backyard gardens and fresh food.

We all need to be given tools to take action. Storytelling is one. Many other tools were shared during that evening with Patagonia: direct action, physical endurance, poetry. Now that COP28 is over and policymakers have put forth a weak attempt to launch a just transition off fossil fuels, it's up to the people—and their tools—to hold our leaders accountable. If global leadership is failing us, what can we do locally? In Washington state, for example, tribes are charging efforts to remove dams from rivers that haven't seen salmon in decades. How can others embody such spirit?

A real just transition will take each and every one of us. We need to be equipped—with tools. Can I count on you to join? 🌀

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.

In Tennessee, a wild weekend of tornadoes unleashed over the weekend, killing at least six people.

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