The Marathon: Pacing Yourself for the Challenge of Climate Change

"A River cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence."

- James M. Watkins

I often refer to this quote in times of fatigue or frustration. I would be willing to bet that anyone with passion or the drive to affect change has experienced similar moments of doubt and inter-conflict. The same fuel that picks us up and pushes us on to continuously fight for a better outcome is the same thing that won't allow us to switch off or to take even the smallest break to reset and recharge for the coming challenges ahead. It is the double edged sword of intense passion and belief.

I write this just having taken my first true break in over 18 months. This year was particularly trying, not just as it pertains to work related to climate change resiliency, but there has also been that added stressor of some little issue called the COVID-19 global pandemic, maybe you've heard of it. It was only after taking my brief respite that I realized the value of such activities, and came to understand why I may have experienced more rock bottom moments in the past 5 years of my professional existence. I severely underestimated the need for rest and providing the time to recharge. I'm not talking about taking a few hours in the evening away from emails or project outlines, or making sure I get a few more hours of sleep to boost daily energy levels. I'm talking about true rest and stepping away from the table to fully reset and recharge. It is a powerful experience and one that I would encourage all whom read this to consider.

I'm sure many of you find yourself in the same predicament as I; constantly feeling burdened by the monumental task that lays before us and the constant sense of urgency to create the change needed to turn the tide of climate change, or any worthwhile cause for that matter. The gravity of the situation is not necessarily conducive to a restful mind and spirit, yet that is what is needed as we work towards safeguarding the world against the potential disasters that await us if we choose to do nothing. I am writing this blog in hopes that you will avoid my past mistakes, and take time to find moments of peace and relaxation before continuing on the journey and fighting the hard miles that lie ahead.

We need to allow ourselves to see the challenges before us for what they are. It's a big lift to be sure, but there's more than one person working on it. We all have our strengths and skills, and the more we lean on those skills and hone them the better we'll all be. Instead of saying "I need to stop climate change" find the one area of change needed that would fuel you and focus on it full force. You eat an elephant one bite at a time, and that's how we need to work. We will also need to find that which recharges us. For me it's reconnecting the the natural world. I got into conservation because of the love of nature, and somehow found myself in an office more than the mountains and rivers. So please, remember that the road is long and difficult so don't forget to find those lovely spots to stop and rest before continuing on the journey. And I will end the way we started to reinforce the power of endurance; "A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence."

Keep on Keeping on,

Adam Schellhammer

Thirsty Conservationist and Wooden Journey Contributor

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