How to Uplift Young People in These Strange Times

May 19, 2020 | Uncategorized

Hello, good people,

How’s it going for you, with all of the corona confusion?

My family is engaged in an exciting debate:
If five of us continue sharing this small house, should we try to squeeze a second toilet in the attic or laundry room or maybe  . . . a backyard shed?

The real focus of this newsletter, though, is on young artists, graduates, and the fight for Planet Earth. These all come together nicely in the story of my beloved, newly-graduated niece, Hannah Peck, above, who illustrated my book with lovely, graphic novel style artwork about why fossil fuels need to stay in the ground (see the illustration here, And her Instagram page here).

Hannah was 18 and college-bound when I pitched the project, and in this 2-min video, you can see her illustrations and hear how it all began (it involves spices).

Young people are using art everywhere now to wake adults up, climate-wise. (Know any interested in using the arts to win a Green New Deal? Send them to Sunrise Creative School to learn storytelling, visual arts, graphic design, or video production from home!)

I’m thinking about young people a lot lately, about how so many are rightly freaked out about the climate, or graduating deeply in debt and now unable to get a foot in the door, career-wise.

I want us to notice how they’ve been staying home, protecting the health of elders and those with underlying conditions. I want us to notice that this costs them in countless ways, and for us to similarly protect them and their futures.

Here are some ideas for supporting them in a crashing economy:

If you have a spare room . . .
Invite a cash-strapped young person or two to live with you. Trade for meals or housework, or just gift it.

If you have plentiful food . . .
Make a deal – you provide groceries, they cook a meal you share.

If you have a social network . . .
Use it to link young people to opportunities. One post on a site like Next Door might help a youth link with a neighbor needing yard work, dog-walking, or, in the case of the isolated, even just to be read to (yes, I know audio books, but we read to each other in our family, and it’s delightful.)

If you have some money . . .
Hire them. I hired Hannah to do my book art. The commission wasn’t hefty, but she appreciated being paid for her artwork.

If you want to help boot that f**ker from the White House  . . .
Fund young people, either personally or through a group, to Get Out the Vote through phone calls or postcards to voters in swing states; these are proven ways to GOTV).

This photo is of first-time voters readying mail-in ballots (which we need everywhere, especially in a pandemic). This election represents a truly a do-or-die moment for our democracy and kids’ futures. I’m doing all I can to love up young people and say: This is your moment. The world is desperate for your creativity, innovation, and moral authority. How can I help you reclaim the future?

Stay healthy and connected!
With love, determination, and very long hair,
Mary

PS: Check out my Sierra magazine commentary, and decide whether you think it deserves its 10,000 likes: “For Mother’s Day, Moms Don’t Need Flowers. We Need Political Power.”

Here’s my latest Daily Dose piece, “On Pipelines — and 5 Ways to Defeat Them”

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