Closer Every Day
We’ve surrendered our values to an economic system that actively harms what we love.
Robin Wall Kimmerer
︎ Library https://emergencemagazine.org/essay/the-serviceberry/
I remember my astoundment and shock after reading about human inflicted climate change in third grade. The grade school level book had stats on the amount of drinking water that remained, how our summers would get incrementally warmer, and how the pH of the ocean would shift to make it uninhabitable for marine life. A kind of slow dissolution to our way of life and life itself. Tips littered the book, action steps: Resuse-recycle. Hang dry laundry. Eat less meat. Walk or bike more. I was born in the 1980’s so these lessons are over 30 years old. These are the same sustainability tips preached today. The gradual shifts in our collective habits would drastically slow down the impending warming. It’s 2022 and wildfires in the West are all too commonplace. I have experienced two derechos—inland hurricanes—of whose weather name I had never heard until the small midwest city I lived in was impassable with fallen trees and power wasn’t restored for weeks. This summer, the Monarch butterfly was placed on the endangered species list. There are now two WHO pandemics cirrculating our globe. Billionaires have been the first tourists to travel to space to explore an escapist future. To live in 2022 is to live in an experienced climate catastrophe.
While we were all in lockdown from COVID in the spring of 2020, I remeber a second time in my life when there was a giant sense of quiet. Planes didn’t traverse the sky. Car noise was faint. There was a sense of making do, making bread, making care. This several-month period felt as if it brimmed with permenant change. News kept happening. Chaos felt normalized. We returned with crests and waves back to a the disconnected.
In 2021, I was taken by the onslaught of daily news images depicting climate catastrophes. Local, regional, national, global disaster experienced daily. While it took months of looking through the daily newspaper to understand how to create a new climate count down, one day in the summer of 2022, it became clear. Each day, I take the daily paper, cut out a 10-inch diamter circle, and use the circle as a negative for a lumen print. This lumen print is exposed to the sun for 1 minute to 24 hours, until the next negative is ready to be placed.
I think of these piercing circles as portals to a possible future. I think of these circles as cycles, moons, suns, planets in balance. A clock face. A completion. A chance to set a new path.
~Stephanie Dowda DeMer