Some of my fondest memories from childhood took place on a tiny island tucked into the Eastern shores of Vancouver Island.

I remember arriving at the ferry dock, waiting for the boat on a beach filled with purple sea stars. Even twenty years later, I can still recall how vibrant their colour was, how many there were – so many they’d blanket the legs of the dock in deep purple.

I took that same ferry this past July. Waiting by the dockside, I walked and searched and struggled to locate a single sea star.

It felt poignant. I was born in the nineties, and I realized in that moment that I had lived long enough to witness places I loved become significantly altered by climate change.

Weeks later – still grieving the experience – I began to question if I was imagining, and not remembering, the abundance of sea stars on the beach a couple decades ago. How could a species that was so abundant have vanished so dramatically, and so soon?

I texted my sister to cross-reference our memories – “It’s true” she told me, confirming that she’d been struck by the lack of sea stars, too, and the comparison between how many there once were.

Losses make themselves known to us through distinct and personal experiences.

Maybe your own experience of changes in the natural world has spurred you to sort your recyclables with greater vigilance, to diligently refill glass jars of laundry detergent and dish soap to save plastic, or pledge to abstain from fast fashion, red meat and the owning cars – to make any number of personal choices to quell the feeling powerlessness the climate crisis brings about.

Last year, when I took a job as Canada’s National Observer’s Engagement and Audience Specialist, it was because I wanted to do something about a feeling of powerlessness. I knew that accurate, accessible information about corporations, captains of industry and government policies responsible for warming the planet and reducing its biodiversity are absolutely vital, if we’re going to stop them.

As a Canada’s National Observer subscriber, I know you know this, too.

When my grief over the sea stars parted I had another realization, as poignant as the first. It took twenty years to alter this landscape. It was only twenty years ago the same stretch of coastline teemed with abundance and life. If all of us went in the opposite direction – implementing solutions, restoration programs and science-based policies – where could we be twenty years from today?

For this future to unfold, people like me and you – who care about climate, who are aware of complexities and the root causes and the overlapping issues – must support truth being told and fund reporting that does the work. The CNO does just that work.

This work is expensive. Speaking truth to power is expensive. To keep going hard on the climate file is expensive. That is why we need every single one of you reading this now to back CNO. We need every person who’s with us to donate today.

I’m going to put it simply – this holiday season, will you give generously to our fundraising campaign?

Warm regards,

Sadie Stephens

Audience & Engagement Specialist

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