ThinkProgress Green is reporting live from New York City, headquarters of the Climate Reality Project’s 24 Hours of Reality event. The event is nearing its conclusion, with this hour’s presentation from Rio de Janeiro.
In an exclusive interview with ThinkProgress Green, Climate Reality Project CEO Maggie Fox explains why her fight against climate change is more than just a job — it’s personal. A lifelong expeditionary mountaineer, Fox spent years leading Outward Bound trips for teens and adults, exploring some of the most remote and beautiful places on the planet, from Alaska to the Himalayas. A lot of the time was spent climbing and teaching in Glacier National Park, learning to survive amid some of the biggest glaciers in North America.
Recently, she returned to Glacier National Park, flying over the park with reporters. The impact of what she saw left her almost unable to speak:.
Glaciers are bigger than big. Glaciers are worlds. The notion that a glacier could disappear in my adult life was incomprehensible to me. The vastness of them. The depth. The huge massifs they encompass. To be able to not just go back into the Himalayas but also here in the United States and actually fly over a national park whose name will have to be changed very shortly, because there are almost no glaciers left, and to see things that I climbed, and was fearful of my life in, are gone, virtually gone — had an impact on me that’s hard to describe.
Fox explained that what happens to the glaciers isn’t just an unfortunate consequence of our actions, but is also connected — like the rest of the natural world — to our fate as humanity.
“We inhabit the natural world,” Fox said. “We are of the natural world. It is a source of unbelievable joy and connection.”
“It doesn’t really matter if you don’t care about a particular finch or a glacier,” Fox concluded. “There are parts of the natural world that connect to all of us. Our connection to our planet is part of who we are as a people. Changing our planet is also changing us.”