People sometimes tell me I’m a downer. That I’m angry. That I should think more optimistically, be more positive.

I wish I could just post pictures of puppies and kittens and fabulous landscapes (carefully staged to show only the pretty parts). I’d really rather not start my day looking at the news, worrying about the 200 species that will go extinct today, the chemicals pouring into our waterways, the cruelty we humans inflict upon the Earth and all its creatures each and every day.

Those in power are counting on us being too tired, too apathetic, too selfish, and too oblivious to sustain our outrage about what “the system” is doing to this planet.

But to ignore what’s happening is a luxury. It is only possible if you are in a position of privilege; if you can afford to live somewhere that’s not so poisoned that it’s killing people and where sea level rise isn’t threatening your home; if you are lucky enough that you can ignore the suffering and ecological devastation created by the factories and industrial agriculture that sustains those of us who do not have to work or live near the sacrifice zones of this planet.

As long as there are people and corporations and institutions that are willing to exchange forests and species and prairies and clean air, water, and soil for money, I will push back. I think this planet is worth it. I think the orca and the salmon and the marbled murrelets and the bees are worth it.

And that’s the rub here: love will often look a lot like rage, as it fiercely fights on behalf of those who are being brutalized.

This essay is an adaptation of John Pavolvitz’s essay “Yes I know I’m angry. I wish you were.”

The accompanying image is of Talequah carrying her dead calf, titled “See Me”, by artist Lori Christopher.