Thursday, the Earth Charter will host its fourth annual Climate Leadership Summit. This is the first time the event will occur at Goshen College, but I think I can speak for our community when I say that we’re happy to host the summit. 

I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of my time thinking about climate change and how it impacts our earth. 

In the morning, when I wake up, I worry about the amount of energy my fans have used throughout the night. When I brush my teeth, I regret that I haven’t bought a biodegradable toothbrush. When I get dressed, I think about how my clothing was made. When I eat breakfast, I think about where my food came from. 

My mind goes on like this for the entire day, every day. 

But, on top of the anxieties of climate change, I also spend my time worrying about other things that threaten the safety of myself and others: racism, homophobia, xenophobia, immigration, guns. The list goes on. 

As a Goshen College student committed to peacebuilding, I find all of these issues to be pressing and often at the forefront of my mind. 

My brain, like many others at GC, is often overwhelmed with a multitude of anxieties. How do I continue on when it feels like I have no future? How do I continue on when it feels like the world doesn’t have a future? 

I was reminded on Tuesday morning to take a breath when Joe Lietchy, professor of PJCS, shared a prayer poem with my Global Issues class. 

The prayer poem, titled “Prophets of a Future Not Our Own,” is attributed to Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was murdered after he fought against poverty, social injustice, assassinations, and torture in El Salvador during the late 1970s. 

It was a poem I had read before. Professor Keith Graber Miller had shared it with my Liberation Theology class in late spring. 

And even then, the poem had struck me. 

One line, in particular, puts me at ease:

“We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that.

This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.”

Will there be any part of me left if I give myself to every issue or cause that breaks my heart? 

Probably not. 

This is not to say ignore the injustice in the world, but instead to say invest where you are able. 

It won’t feel like enough, I know. But it’s something.

At this moment in time, I find myself drawn to combating climate change in the ways that I am able. 

I’ll leave you with the two final lines of the prayer poem: 

“We are workers, not master builders; ministers, not messiahs.

We are prophets of a future not our own.”