Over the past couple of months, I have been giving Climate Run: Iceland presentations around Vermont and the eastern U.S — from talks at Burlington, Vermont’s The Outdoor Gear Exchange, Mount Mansfield Nordic Ski Club, to a standing-room-only audience at The Catamount Trail Association, and to a packed auditorium at the Hathaway Brown School in Cleveland, Ohio.
It’s always exciting to share my story of running across Iceland (which for me feels both recent and so very long ago), but I find even more rewarding the conversations that follow–about a range of topics grounded in concepts such as climate change, resilience, vulnerability, and endurance.
I’ve been asked, “what should we do” in the face of climate change? What roles should we as athletes play? How do you define resilience?
I have facilitated a conversation about the role of faith in climate conversations.
I have asked groups about how privilege can guide our thinking about vulnerability.
I have talked with students and faculty about how art, action, and science can help develop a resilient ecological and social relationship.
I have found that my story resonates with a range of different audiences — from skiers to conservationists to high school students — all of whom have different expectations and different relationships with and perspectives on the natural world.
John Meyer has recently written about the resonance dilemma, which points to the disconnect between systems as large and complex as the global climate with individual people’s actions. Meyer invites us to “imagine an agenda for environmental sustainability that emerges from everyday concerns and is … deeply resonant with the lives of” ordinary people.
I completely agree. In fact, Climate Run often resonates most strongly when I talk about the personal experience of being in the midst of wildness–and of realizing that as individuals we are inextricably part of a global ecology.
Nature can no longer be that place ‘out there.’ For the issues of a broader world to resonate with us, we need to recognize–and act as though–we are part of it all.
Of course, this is not at all a new concept, but it may be among the most difficult to act upon.